Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate which recently surpassed all US retailers in revenues and profits by becoming the largest retailer in the world, has decided to invest in AI and IoT systems.
Reportedly, the US$1.4 Billion investment is to be infused in the development of smart speakers. Alibaba’s Tmall Genie AI induced Smart speaker is a competitor to the Amazon Echo which has recently broken all sales records in the United States. Given the increasing demand, Alibaba Group has decided to invest in the Tmall Genie Product line to get a result of superlative AI and IoT induced products. Apparently, the funding is centered towards this product with the ambition of developing proprietary technology.
Similar to Amazon Echo, which is not available in China, the smart speaker is able to interact with users to play music, produce weather information, and perform other functions via a voice interface. The investment in smart systems is justified by the increasing demand of the same in the Chinese Republic in the recent years. In 2019, Alibaba had shipped 16.8 million smart speakers to consumers, while Baidu had shipped 17.3 million in the past year. Alibaba’s primary competitors in the smart speaker segment remain Baidu Inc and Xiaomi Corp.
Recently many tech companies have been investing in smart systems technology, given the scope and demand of the same. The hardware applications of AI and IoT remain the ultimate goal of tech giants, given their potential demand and growth opportunity. Companies like Apple and Google have also invested heavily in this segment.
During this ongoing COVID pandemic, tech firms have been increasing investments in their respective Research and Development segment to produce better quality products and also work on AI and Machine Learning Applications simultaneously. While the revenues have been soaring, big firms are positive about the market boom post the pandemic induced stagnation. Apparently the markets of countries like China and Japan have already opened up thus showing positive relief signs for these giant retailers.