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Baidu’s Smart Speaker Market Share Soars 711% in China

Chinese internet giant Baidu has seen 711 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in its home country’s smart speaker market in the space of one quarter, according to research firm Canalys.

Baidu, which released its Xiaodu speaker in June, became the third-largest vendor in the country for the third quarter of the year, shipping 1 million speakers.

Alibaba was once again the number one seller in the market for the quarter, but its dominance has slipped.

It shipped 2.2 million Tmall Genie speakers, marking a quarter-on-quarter decline of 26 percent.

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Second-placed Xiaomi, meanwhile, shipped 1.9 million units of its AI speakers, down 6 percent from Q2.

Smart speaker shipments hit 5.8 million units, with a 1 percent quarter-on-quarter growth.

Alibaba and Xiaomi “Duopoly Broken”

Q3 saw vendors to try out new sales tactics and test the robustness of vendors’ channels as offline became more important, Canalys said. AI speakers

Alibaba started to work with home appliance makers to bundle its smart speakers with smart appliances, for example.

Xiaomi’s mix of online and offline channels helped it maintain stable shipments of AI speakers in Q3, even without a major sales event.

Baidu acquired Raven Technology in early 2017 and entered the smart speaker market with the $244 Raven H the following November.

But its success lies in the Baidu’s latest low-cost Xiaodu speaker, which “has finally grabbed the industry’s attention,” Canalys said.

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“Building up its smart speaker user base will be Baidu’s biggest priority, to increase its touch points for its smart assistant,” said senior analyst at Canalys Jason Low.

“Baidu should use its knowledge of online-to-offline service integration, and machine learning and AI development to boost its smart assistants’ USPs around capabilities in context awareness and executing more complex requests.”

AI Speakers

Looking to Q4, vendors need to improve compatibility of smart speakers with other smart home devices, such as door locks and home automation systems, the firm added.

In Q2, Alibaba and Xiaomi together accounted for nearly 90 percent of China’s smart speaker market.

Globally, Google and and Amazon were the top two vendors for Q2, with 5.4 million shipments of Google Home and 4.1 million shipments of Amazon Echo devices in the quarter.

The firm said it expects 100 million smart speakers to be in use by the end of this year.

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