NetEase Tech, 5/03/18
Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) has announced that the company will wholly acquire Beijing-based speech technology developer Sound Connect. Founder of Sound Connect and former researcher at the Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Dr. Qiang Fu recently joined the Machine Intelligence Technology Laboratory of Alibaba's R&D institute, the DAMO Academy (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook), to lead the development of speech interaction head-end processing technologies and solutions.
Sound Connect's research team is recognized as being among the earliest such teams to work on speech enhancement and far-field voice recognition technologies in China. The company has provided companies such as Alibaba, internet conglomerate Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Android device maker Xiaomi with hardware and software solutions for their far-field voice recognition needs.
In early April, Alibaba announced the company's plans to fully enter the Internet of Things (IoT) market, and Dr. Qiang's leadership is seen as providing a key element to this strategy. After joining the Alibaba acoustics team, Dr. Qiang has said he plans to integrate resources to promote research surrounding speech recognition technology and to create integrated commercial solutions based on the combination of hardware, software and cloud technologies, while also planning to develop two acoustic laboratories.