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Baidu teams up with Huawei to improve user experience

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-22 10:37
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Baidu's robot Xiaodu and Chinese musical group member Wang Yuan at Wang's birthday party, Nov 20, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Chinese search giant Baidu Inc on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's third-largest smartphone maker, aiming to bring digital customer experience to the next level with artificial intelligence (AI) innovation.

The announcement came shortly after Baidu teamed up with Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi Corp at the end of last month, to tackle the emerging technologies of AI and the internet of things.

Baidu and Huawei said they would conduct in-depth cooperation on areas ranging from AI platform and technologies to internet services and content ecosystems. The two sides aim to cultivate an open mobile and AI ecosystem, boost the development of AI applications and provide smarter life experiences for global users.

"It is not surprising that Baidu and Huawei would team up together, as we share many similarities-technologies are embodied in our genes and we rely on self-developed core technologies to develop," said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu.

"Now the era of internet is evolving to the AI era. Baidu has been dedicated to AI for a long time. And Huawei has amassed a huge user base. Together, we can take on tasks that were even impossible in the past," Li added.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, said it is now a critical phase for the smartphone industry, and Huawei needs to work with partners like Baidu on AI to offer better user experiences.

"With solid research and development background, Huawei will work with Baidu to promote industrial innovation and jointly develop the next generation of smartphones."

Seeing AI as a key to its future, Baidu has continuously improved its core businesses based on AI and dedicated to expanding its AI-driven businesses through open platforms and ecosystems.

Charlie Dai, principal analyst at consultancy Forrester, said this partnership will help both companies accelerate creation in the consumer and enterprise sectors in the long run.

"In the AI market, value ecosystems, data assets and domain-specific engineering experience are three key factors for market competition. Baidu has been one of the leading companies in AI space in many areas, such as computer vision, NLP and autonomous vehicles; meanwhile Huawei has become a global leader in mobile devices in addition to its telco and enterprise businesses."

James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, noted the cooperation was also a continuation of Huawei's AI strategy, marking a significant AI phase that transformed from the development of hardware to the construction of a complete industrial chain surrounding service providers and vendors.

"The cooperation shows the industry trend, which will foster quicker AI application development and enable more related functions." Yan added.

The two companies said they planned to build an open ecosystem employing Huawei'a HiAI platform and Baidu Brain, to offer consumers a wide range of AI offerings and new smart service experiences. And they will jointly establish an augmented reality ecosystem, combining hardware and software to enable a more immersive AR experience.

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