Investments in AI have been increasing, and Alibaba has emerged as one of China’s key players in this field. Recently, the e-commerce giant led a funding round of over US$600 million for the Chinese startup MiniMax.

This deal increased MiniMax’s valuation to over US$2.5 billion, marking Alibaba’s second significant AI investment this year. It recently led a US$1 billion round for Moonshot AI, also valuing it at US$2.5 billion.

MiniMax is a Chinese AI startup specializing in social AI. It develops AI companions and virtual characters for interactive experiences.

At present, the startup has two AI character role-playing apps: Talkie for international markets, and Xing Ye for China.