Date
11 December 2017
Baidu chief Robin Li unveils the company's smart home products at the Baidu World conference in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Baidu
Baidu chief Robin Li unveils the company's smart home products at the Baidu World conference in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Baidu

Baidu enters AI market with ‘smart home’ products

Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. is entering the artificial-intelligence market with “smart home” products, including an intelligent speaker and a personal robot.

At its annual Baidu World conference in Beijing on Thursday, the company unveiled two home assistants under its Raven line of smart products, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Raven H is a smart speaker that can hail a taxi, play a song or search for information on the company’s search engine, while Raven R is a stationary robot that provides similar functions as Raven H but can also move on an axis, allowing it to dance to music, the newspaper said.

The Raven products, which are similar to Amazon.com Inc’s Echo, will first be sold in the domestic market.

The Journal said the AI products are seen as a way to generate short-term revenue gains while more ambitious ventures such as driverless cars are being developed.

Other Chinese tech companies are also making forays into the AI market. Earlier this year, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. launched the Tmall Genie, a voice-controlled speaker, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. announced a similar product called Xiaowei.

Part of the reason why firms are entering the smart device market is to gain consumer data, which can be used to offer additional products and services, Kitty Fok, China managing director at consulting firm IDC, told the newspaper.

Raven H will be available next month for 1,699 yuan (US$257). The company did not reveal the price for Raven R, which will hit the market next spring.

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Raven H is a smart speaker that can hail a taxi, play a song or search for information on the Baidu search engine. It can move on an axis, allowing it to dance to music. Photo: Baidu


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