Alibaba is often referred to as the “Amazon of China”, and that is becoming increasingly truly. A report from The Information indicates that the online retailer is preparing to sell a device similar to that of the Amazon Echo.
There are few details about what the rumoured device will entail. It’s said that it will cater to the Chinese market, indicating that it will understand Mandarin instead of English. Although it may also be calibrated for other dialects. It would also be integrated with Alibaba’s online shopping services to allow customers to use it to buy things.
Both Apple and Microsoft are set to release their own versions of the Echo, while Google already has the Google Home out in some markets. Companies are looking to capture the coming smarthome market by creating a hub that will control various functions of the household.
Most of this centres on having an AI assistant capable of understanding contextual instructions. Something that Alibaba has not quite hinted at owning just yet. Although the technology is not outside the capabilities of a company with the size and influence of Alibaba.
Alibaba may have a slight edge over its western counterparts in this space, seeing as it is providing the same product in a language that’s not English. The Chinese speaking audience is not only limited to mainland China, and represents a much bigger market that one would think.