Chinese tech giant Baidu said its artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant Xiaodu Technology has raised fresh capital at a valuation of USD 5.1 billion.
Following the technology unit's Series B fundraiser, Baidu will remain a majority shareholder. The investment is a boost for Baidu as Chinese authorities crackdown on its technology sector.
Xiaodu leverages Baidu's AI and large content and services mobile ecosystem, "to change the way hardware provides value for consumers", Baidu said.
Xiaodu is the developer of DuerOS, a voice assistant system based on AI that supports television, speakers, and other smart home appliances. It completed its Series A funding in November 2020 at a post-money valuation of $2.9 billion, said Baidu. Xiaodu entered the market in 2018 with sub-CNY 100 smart speakers.
Herman Yu, CSO, and CFO of Baidu said: “DuerOS with voice modality and the larger screen is growing Internet usage at home and becoming the command center for IoTs, with its fast growth of OEM partnerships. Services revenue surpassed 10% of Xiaodu revenues in the most recent quarter, encompassing membership, advertising and skills store revenue share.”
Baidu’s AI chip unit Kunlun also secured a valuation of some $2bn in March, according to Reuters.