Shanghai-based software company Zhizhen Network Technology, which sued Apple four years ago over a voice recognition patent for the iPhone Siri "personal assistant", plans to expand into the US in 2017 with ambitions of becoming a global leader in artificial intelligence. It will set up offices in Hong Kong and Silicon Valley to develop software to cater to local clients, a fresh sign that Chinese technology firms are speeding up their "go-global" drive to take on big-names such as Microsoft and Amazon for world markets. "Taking a global view, it's time to set sail for the largely untapped territory of artificial intelligence," said Yuan Hui, founder and chairman of Zhizhen. "Internationalisation is a necessary step we will take to develop our businesses." In a report on the top 10 technology trends for 2017, IT research firm Gartner listed Zhizhen's Xiaoi Robot, Siri, Cortana of Microsoft and Echo of Amazon as world leaders in intelligent conversational systems.
Rokid, a Chinese startup that makes an AI voice assistant and smart devices, just raised a Series B extension round led by Temasek Holdings, with participation from Credit Suisse, IDG Capital and CDIB Capital. The size of the round was not released, but a source familiar with the deal told TechCrunch that it is $100 million. The company's previous funding was its Series B round, which was announced in November 2016. Founder and chief executive officer Mingming Zhu says Rokid raised a Series B instead of a C round because the company, which is based in Hangzhou, China with research centers in Beijing and San Francisco that develop its proprietary natural language processing, image processing, face recognition and robotics technology, is still in its early stages. Rokid wants to focus on gathering more resources and bringing in strategic investors like Temasek Holdings before moving on to a Series C.
China faces an acute shortage of doctors. Even in China's first-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Tianjin - many Chinese must wait in long lines at hospitals and clinics to receive examinations, diagnosis and treatment. The World Health Organization issued a report in 2016 disclosing that in China, there's a ratio: 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 people, while in the United States, it's 2.4 per 1,000 and in the United Kingdom, 2.8 per 1,000. Apparently, new solutions are required to help Chinese doctors reduce workloads. Hence, Chinese developers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) may have found the answer.