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Google Eyes Chinese Technology Landscape, Acquires Stake In Artificial Intelligence Firm Mobvoi

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With an eye upon the rapidly improving future prospects of China based technological firms and perhaps in an attempt to bolster its diminished presence in the country, Google has recently acquired a minority stake in Beijing-based artificial intelligence firm Mobvoi.

This is not the first time that the corporations have come in contact with each other. Google has used the services of the AI firm in the past for its Android Wear operating system, where Mobvoi helped out with perfecting the Chinese-language voice search option.

The fact that Google choose the three-year old Mobvoi to make an investment in China may also have been somewhat influenced by the fact that CEO Zhifei Li and CTO Mike Lei, are both ex-Googlers and were once associated with Google US as research scientists.

According to a statement by Li to TechCrunch,

We used the Google model from day one, We wanted to have same culture and team values. The co-operation [on bringing Android Wear to China] went really well… and [Google] showed interest and decided to make an investment.

The acquisition took place in a $60 million Series C fundraising round by Mobvoi, which takes the total amount of funding received till date by the company, up to $71.62 million.

Although the size of Google’s investment remains undisclosed, Mobvoi in an e-mailed statement, confirmed that it is still maintaining the controlling stakes of the company.


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