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Digitimes Research: Competition in China smart speaker market heating up
Enoki Chen, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

Competition in China's smart speaker market is heating up: Alibaba is pushing sales of its Tmall Genie to the business sector; JD.com is promoting its next-generation smart speaker, the DingDong 2; and Xiaomi Technology has forayed into the entry-level segment with its Mi AI speaker, according to Digitimes Research.

For the Single's Day online shopping day on November 11, Alibaba has launched aggressive campaigns by setting its Tmall Genie speaker at CNY99 (US$14.91), and the pre-orders received so far has exceeded the total amount of the DingDong speakers sold by JD.com in 2016. In addition to targeting the consumer market, Alibaba is also pushing the sale of the Tmall Genie to restaurants, aviation companies and retail chain operators.

The second-generation DingDong 2, co-developed by JD.com and iFlytek, comes with improved speech recognition capability, allows users to set up their own wake-up language, and features an LED display which enables users to make direct commands by gestures. But DingDong 2's price tag of CNY799 is much higher than that of Tmall Genie's.

Meanwhile, other vendors including Lenovo, Haier and Mobvoi all have launched their own smart speakers, while Internet service giants Tencent Holdings and Baidu have also stepped into the segment through the introduction of related smart voice platforms. Xiaomi, a relatively newcomer to the smart speaker industry, is pushing the sale of its Mi AI speakers at a competitive price of CNY299, which is likely to lead to a number of entry-level products from smaller businesses to be phased out from the market, Digitimes Research believes.

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