iFlytek Co Ltd, a Chinese artificial intelligence company (AI) that specializes in voice-recognition technology, has just announced its plans to invest $150 million in hardware and software startups across the country. The broadcast was made on Oct 24 at the company’s very first Developer Festival.
It’s part of a bigger push to accelerate the use of AI in various industries including consumer electronics and healthcare.
iFlytek is very successful at what they do and has been around in the information technology industry for more than 15 years now. As well as its voice recognition software the company is proud to be the creators of 10+ voice-based mobile/internet products across the intelligent toy, education, music, and communication industries.
Over the past seven years, iFlytek’s AI user interface platform has attracted more than 460,000 third-party developer teams to it. “AI industry cannot rely on one single company, but needs an industrial ecosystem, which decides the development process of AI for a company, or even the whole country,” said the president of iFlytek, Liu Qingfeng.
The new funding will be available for those companies with innovative technologies to offer but lack the business knowledge to market their products and companies that already use iFlytek’s AI technologies but have very limited knowledge as to how to use it, confirmed vice president of iFlytek, Hu Yu.
“As a company born out of the (Hefei-based) University of Science and Technology of China, we have been focusing on voice recognition technologies for 18 years,” said Hu. We know what problems technology-oriented startups will face and how to help traditional companies upgrade themselves through AI.”
iFlytek will also be looking to partner with some of the local governments across China to try and accelerate the startup and build growth as quickly as possible. At the moment the company has a 10,000 square meter space located in Changchun that educates companies on how to develop gadgets for automobiles or other AI-enabled systems.
“We will not only offer the software support and financial guidance but also hardware components and an online AI curriculum,” said Hu.
Moving forward iFlytek will be partnering with Cambridge University with its image recognition technology as a way of getting its foot in the door with Europe, starting with the United Kingdom.
The company has just recently announced a new product in the form of a smart microphone called Morfei which has integrated voice recognition and natural language understanding technologies. The device is designed to make it easier for manufacturers to integrate AI technologies into their products.