Google takes stake in Chinese AI start-up Mobvoi

20 Oct 2015

Google is taking a minority stake in Chinese AI start-up Mobvoi, which is now valued at $300m.

Mobvoi, you might already be aware, worked with Google on its Android Wear smartwatch voice recognition technology, with Google’s newly-revealed investment part of a $75m funding round for the company.

AI and translation technology are becoming far more important to the operations of the likes of Google – and Apple, Facebook etc – as the dramatic shift towards the internet of things continues.

Reuters suggested that this could be Google’s latest attempt to claw back some of its market share in China, with some of its key services blocked in the country.

Google withdrew from China some time ago, but this is one of a handful of public moves by the company to get back into a market awash with potential.

Late last year, Google Play announced merchant support for Chinese developers, at the time a major shift in policy.

“CEO Sundar Pichai has made no secret that he wants to get back into China,” said Reuters, “with his bet riding on Google Play… despite it currently being borderline inaccessible in China. He faces an uphill struggle.”

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic