Alibaba Investing $1 billion in Smart Speakers

Chinese based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) announced it will be pumping a $1 billion (10 Billion Yuan) investment into an artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) revolving around its Tmall Genie smart speaker.

For some time now Alibaba has been giving special attention to new technologies and other business ventures apart from online shopping.

The company says the investment will be used to add more content to Tmall Genie and develop proprietary technology. The Tmall Genie first model was launched in 2017.

The speaker has the ability to interact with the user through a voice interface to play music, provide weather updates among other functions. Amazon Echo owned by rival company Amazon Inc. (AMZN) has the same abilities also but it’s not on sale in China.

Since inception of Tmall Genie three years ago, Alibaba has several models including ones which are display enabled. The company has released a new model of the speaker the latest fitted with a 10 inch screen and it’s going for $77.28 (549 yuan).

Citing data compiled by research firm Canalys, last year Alibaba shipped 16.8 million smart speakers to its buyers while its competitor Baidu shipped 17.3 million to its customers.

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