Photo of Xiaodong Zeng

Artificial intelligence & robotics

Xiaodong Zeng

Continuous crossover innovation: creator of Alibaba’s unmanned supermarket Taocafe

Year Honored


In July 2017, Taobao rolled out its concept store, Taocafe, and turned unmanned retailing into a tangible scene. Xiaodong Zeng, the senior technical expert of Ant Lab at Ant Financial Platform & Data Technique Business Group, is the key driver.

Zeng got his Master's Degree from the University of Macau in 2012, majoring in natural language processing (NLP) and machine translation (MT). During his master's study, Zeng built the first machine translation system in Chinese, English, and Portuguese “PCT-Assistant” which has been widely used in the Macau government and educational agencies. 

To broaden his vision in industry machine translation, Zeng joined Alibaba and took full charge of Ali’s machine translation. He optimized the model algorithms of machine translation and enabled Ali’s machine translation to support 50 million calls each day.

Earlier in 2016, Zeng transferred from the Ali translation team to Ant Fortune to start a innovative department—F Workshop, which focuses on integrating the Internet of Things with new retail and providing a set of new retail solutions in the IoT age for offline physical stores. 

In the next step, Zeng aims to create a set of mature IoT payment technologies and enable offline physical stores to make retail stores smarter, more human, and more efficient.