It looks like voice assistant Cortana is going to have some competition. What’s more, the competition has been created by Microsoft themselves – the company has invested into developing a Chinese online assistant, called Laiye. Its functionality is very similar to Cortana. Laiye was created by the start-up of the same name which is also being supported by some local companies. The amount of money, invested into the project by Microsoft, is unknown. However, just when the development of Laiye was only starting, the start-up managed to raise more than $4 million.
A Mobile assistant Laiye is an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that helps the user with daily activities and does basic stuff, like ordering a certain service, reminding about an event or call a taxi. Right now, Chinese users can download this programme as an app for iPhones and Android smartphones. It’s also available in the popular Chinese messenger WeChat.
The reasons, why Microsoft invested in this small company, are quite obscure. According to Tech in Asia, even the start-up founder, Wang Guanchun, was a bit astonished to learn that such a huge technology company is interested in his project. Nevertheless, Laiye will use this cooperation to the fullest. Wang Guanchun said that the cooperation with Microsoft will bring much more popularity and success to his start-up. Plus, the Chinese company can help their American partners with a corporate customer segment in China.