Google splashes $60m on Chinese AI startup Mobvoi signalling return to China after five years

Lynsey Barber
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Google has splashed a reported $60m on a Chinese startup specialising in Artificial Intelligence, taking a minority stake in the company.

Mobvoi, founded in 2012 by former Google employees, makes Chinese language voice recognition software which is available on Android, Android Wear, and Google Glass devices as well as iOS and Wechat.

While the exact amount has not been disclosed, Google's investment takes its total funding to $75m, according to TechCrunch, which values the firm at around the $300m mark. Previous rounds include a $1.62m series A and $10m series B, from VC firms such as Sequoia Capital, SIG China and ZhenFund.

Last month Mobvoi partnered with Google's Android for the launch of the Moto 360 smartwatch in China, signalling a return to the country. The new deal is a further mark of its renewed focus there.

Now as Alphabet, the company is said to be planning a Chinese language version of its Google app store, five years after it exited the country over censorship of search results. It's search business is based in Hong Kong as a result.

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