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Schermafdruk 2020 03 09 16.42.16China’s tech giants are accelerating their efforts in the field of health-care technology using cloud computing and artificial intelligence, as the country looks to contain the fast-spreading new coronavirus.      While U.S. technology firms from Apple to Microsoft have spoken publicly about their push into health tech, China’s companies have been quietly working in the background. But with the outbreak of the coronavirus, Beijing has called on the country’s tech giants to pitch in to fight the outbreak. Tech firms have expanded their surveillance capabilities to help the government track where people who have potentially been in contact with the virus are located. And now, the Chinese tech giants are also boosting their push into health care with a focus on providing tools to help the medical industry. Alibaba runs some of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, a booming cloud computing business, a logistics network, and one of the country’s biggest mobile payment apps Alipay via its subsidiary Ant Financial. It has leaned into these to introduce some health-care features. In January, Alibaba launched an online clinic service on its Alipay and Taobao apps for users in Hubei province, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated and the region with the most number of cases. That service, which allowed people to get online consultations with doctors, was later extended to Beijing residents. In February, the company launched a drug delivery service for people requiring medicines to treat chronic diseases. It comes as hospitals are overburdened with coronavirus cases, and are sometimes left with little resources to help those with other chronic diseases who need urgent treatment. Alibaba’s research arm also developed a new artificial intelligence algorithm . . . . read more CNBC @ARJUNKHARPAL

 

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