Chinese search giant Baidu is presently the world’s second-biggest vendor of smart speakers. The research firm states Baidu reached Google to capture 17.3 % of the global market with 4.5 million shipments within the second quarter of 2019, representing tremendous year-on-year progress of 3,700 %. Amazon stays the overall leader with more than 25 % share of the market and 6.6 million shipments.
Baidu’s AI speakers operate on an AI platform called DuerOS. The company targeted the high end of the market with the Teenage Engineering-designed Raven H speaker. However, that product sold not as expected. Recently, Baidu has pushed sales of much cheaper models, with the standard Xiaodu speaker selling for as low as 89 yuan ($12). Baidu overtook previous domestic leader Alibaba within the first quarter of this year in China.
Baidu and Google are not direct competitors, Baidu sells its products exclusively in its home market, while Google sells its products nearly everywhere but China. But Baidu’s massive growth over the past year demonstrates the size and the dynamics of the Chinese AI ecosystem. Last year CEO Robin Li stated in no uncertain terms that Baidu wouldn’t be frightened by the prospect of Google re-entering China.
Google has the benefit of being able to address other countries, however, and an example of that’s today’s launch of the Nest Hub (previously Google Home Hub) in India, one different potentially huge market. The smart display is selling for 9,999 Indian currencies, or about $139. Gadgets360 reports that Google is bundling Xiaomi’s Mi Security Camera with the Nest Hub as a launch promotion.