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Google-Backed Mobvoi Soars to $1 Billion Valuation Before IPO

Mobvio is close to getting another round of funding, which will help the company have a $1 billion valuation at the time of launching its IPO. The company that operates in the smartwatch and AI software development sphere seeks to raise $100 million and register itself among an elite group of technology companies on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

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Mobvoi is Google’s first direct investment in China. In 2010, Google had pulled out its search engine from the country. Mobvoi is one among many Chinese-based firms that are trying to penetrate into the market share of larger brands such as Apple Inc. Now, seven years into inception, Mobvoi has diversified its business from voice-search services to smart speakers and sports and designer smartwatches.

Mobvoi from 2012 till date:

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  • The company formed a strategic partnership with Google through the Wear operating system as well as Google Assistant.
  • Volkswagen also invested in Mobvoi in 2017 — Mobvoi now produces AI for cars for the Volkswagen Group.
  • The company boasts of 800 employees spread in offices across the world.

Read More: The Artificial Intelligence Week

Evidently, Google partnering with a company in China may mean that the search engine giant wants a back-door entry into one of the biggest emerging markets in the world. Perhaps, Google regrets its decision to back-out prematurely and wants to reconcile. Google also wants to ensure that its Pixel line of phones sells well in China. Strategically, the company may need to partner with start-ups like Mobvoi to better understand the Chinese market.

Lastly, there is Artificial Intelligence. Google, we are pretty sure, already has a ready-to-market blueprint for its AI products. All it needs is a decent footing to deploy its capabilities and obtain a big slice of the Chinese market.

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