China Mobile buys speech firm; plans cloud service - Mobile World Live

China Mobile buys speech firm; plans cloud service

24 AUG 2012

China Mobile has confirmed it is to acquire a 15 percent stake in Anhui USTC iFlytek, a Shenzhen-listed voice recognition firm touted as a Chinese-language version of Apple’s Siri.

The world’s largest mobile operator said in a filing yesterday that it will pay CNY1.36 billion (US$214 million) to acquire 70.3 million Anhui shares at CNY19.4 a share.

According to the filing, the two firms will collaborate on “smart voice portals, smart voice cloud services, smart voice technologies and product innovations, applications in relation to customer services and fundamental telecommunications businesses and industry informatization.”

Anhui’s text-to-speech technology is thought to be already used in a number of Chinese-made smartphones to provide a Siri-like voice assistant service. The firm was founded in 1999 and posted revenues of CNY557.01 million last year.

In separate news, China Mobile said it was also testing a cloud storage service similar to Apple’s iCloud. According to China Daily, ‘Mcloud’ will launch by year end and will provide users with up to 16GB of storage.