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.
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:
- 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.