Alibaba's secret three-year experiment to reinvent the factory

China's largest corporation unveiled in September its first smart factory. PHOTO: AFP
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HANGZHOU (BLOOMBERG) - After helping more than a million brick-and-mortar Chinese retailers modernize their operations, Alibaba has now set its sights on a new target: the country's outdated factories.

China's largest corporation unveiled in September its first smart factory, a secret experiment that Alibaba's been conducting for three years on the outskirts of its hometown of Hangzhou. The three-story facility known as Xunxi - translated literally as "fast rhino" - is the company's attempt at leveraging its consumer data and technologies to help the multi-trillion-dollar manufacturing arena improving efficiency and meet rising consumer expectations.

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