#Asia Baidu’s new acquisition wants to roll out an Alexa-like service in China


The founder of Y-Combinator startup Raven Tech, Lv Pin, will join Baidu to lead its smart home hardware operations

People in China may soon be able to book an Uber, find restaurants, play music or plan their journey simply by using a voice command — all thanks to a new acquisition by Chinese search engine giant Baidu.

Today, Baidu announced it has acquired AI startup Raven Tech, the only Chinese startup in American seed accelerator Y-Combinator.

No financial details were disclosed, but according to a report by China Money Network, Raven’s founder Lv Pin will join Baidu to lead its smart home hardware operations.

The Beijing-based company was founded in 2014, Since then, it has raised over US$18 million in funding from investors including DCM Ventures, ZhenFund, Matrix Partners China, MSA, Y Combinator and Microsoft Accelerator.

Its Project Flow platform is a voice-based search engine and operation system which links together the APIs of different apps. Users can then activate the different services by engaging with its AI voice assistant Eva; in other words, it’s the Chinese answer to Amazon Alexa.

Also Read: Baidu kicks off its US$3B fund for tech investment

Raven Tech also has a home assistant called Raven H-1, which allows users to control smart home devices.

Baidu has been investing heavily in AI through Baidu Research, an R&D platform headed by the founder of Google Brain’s team Andrew Ng.

Last year, Baidu announced it will build self-driving cars with American tech giant Nvidia, with plans to roll them out by 2021. And at CES this year, Baidu unveiled a voice-controlled robot that allows users to translate languages, check stock prices, look up locations, and read the news.

Image Credit: Raven Tech



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