Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) announced Wednesday it is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in an artificial intelligence and Internet of Things smart speaker system.
Alibaba’s Tmall Genie smart speaker will be the center of the fresh investment made by the Chinese e-commerce giant. The speaker, first launched in 2017, is akin to Amazon Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Echo range, reported Reuters.
The funding will go towards adding more content to the Tmall Genie and in the development of proprietary technology.
Why It Matters
Last year, Alibaba shipped 16.8 million smart speakers, while rival Baidu, a Chinese search engine firm, shipped 17.3 million. Echo is not on sale in China, reported Reuters.
Alibaba’s speakers can play music, provide weather information, and interact with users. The smart speaker comes in several models. The latest model launched Wednesday has a 10-inch screen and costs $77.28.
In 2019, Alibaba AI Labs announced its smart assistant AliGenie, the voice of the Tmall Genie speakers, has been integrated into more than 660 IoT platforms. The virtual voice assistant is found on nearly 200 million devices.
Alibaba shares traded 0.25% higher at $217.75 in the after-hours session on Tuesday. The shares had closed the regular session 0.89% higher at $217.20.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Alibaba.