Tencent take Siri on with their own voice assistant

Watch out Siri, you may be about to launch in China in the shape of Apple’s smart speaker but Tencent are looming with their own artificial intelligence on the way.

As Apple build up to the launch of their HomePod speaker in China this week on the 18th, native tech giant’s Tencent have announced the readying of their very own powerful artificial intelligence. China’s most notorious tech company Tencent have revealed that they are preparing the launch of their own smart-assistant called Xiaowei which will debut in their popular messaging app WeChat, the biggest social media platform in China, and will be used to control Tencent’s services like QQ Music.

The Western world, and in particular the US, has quickly adopted voice assistants and made them part of the home in recent years with AI’s like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri aiding people through their smartphones and smart speakers. China however has not seen the same level of uptake and they remain a novelty in China, making this potentially the first big digital assistant from a native Chinese company to have an impact across China.

Tencent sell smart speakers in China as well as other local internet companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. which use voice assistants to accompany them. Integrating this into further tech products like their apps could mark a shift in China’s adoption of the new technology that sees them catch up with the popularity voice assistants have seen in the US and other Western countries.

WeChat is a massive platform in China with over 1.08 billion monthly active users at the end of September 2018. On Wednesday Tencent said they are also focusing on expanding the monetisation of their Mini Programs. Mini Programs is a platform for external apps that can be integrated into WeChat to provide extra features such as e-commerce, task management, coupons, and more.

Tencent haven’t announced when Xiaowei might go live for it’s apps.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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