Baidu Overtakes Google in Smart Speaker Market
According to a new report by Canalys, Baidu, Chinese search giant, is now the world’s second biggest vendor of smart speakers. The research firm says Baidu overtook Google to capture 17.3 percent of the global market. In the second quarter of 2019, Baidu covered 17.3 percent of the global market with 4.5 million shipments. However, Amazon still retains the leading position with 25 percent share of the market and 6.6 million shipments.
Baidu’s speakers run on an AI platform called DuerOS. The company initially targeted high end of the market with the Teenage Engineering-designed Raven H speaker. However, that product sold quite poorly. Recently, Baidu has pushed sales of much less expensive models, with the basic Xiaodu speaker selling for as low as 89 Yuan (approx. $12). In the first quarter of this year, Baidu overtook previous domestic leader Alibaba in China.
A point to note is that Google and Baidu aren’t direct competitors as Baidu sells its products exclusively in China and Google sells its products almost everywhere but China. Last year CEO Robin Li said “in no uncertain terms that Baidu wouldn’t be worried by the prospect of Google re-entering China”. However, Google has the advantage of being able to address other countries as seen by today’s launch of Nest Hub in India.