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Alexa, Who is Baidu? Chinese Tech Company Passes Google in Smart Speaker Stakes

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Baidu captured 17.3 per cent of the global market but Amazon remains the overall leader with more than 25 per cent share and 6.6 million shipments.

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Chinese search giant Baidu has surprisingly pipped Google to become the world’s second-largest vendor of smart speakers, according to a new report from research firm Canalys. According to the research firm’s report, Baidu captured 17.3% global market share in the second quarter of 2019 with 4.5 million shipments. This marks a year-on-year sales growth of 3,700% for the company. The company is now second behind Amazon, the global leader. Google, in comparison, shipped 4.3 million Home and Nest-branded devices in the second quarter, down 19.8% when compared with the 5.4 million shipments during the year-ago period. Amazon remained the market leader with more than 25% global market share and 6.6 million Echo devices shipped during the second quarter.

Interestingly, Baidu and Google cannot be considered as competitors as Baidu sells its products exclusively in China, its home market, while Google sells its products across the world with the exception of China. According to the research, among the other notable players, Xiaomi also increased shipments of its smart speakers by 37.5% year-over-year. Apart from Google, most leading players marked an increase in their smart speaker sales during the second quarter compared with a year ago as the worldwide smart speaker shipments grew by 55.4% during the period.

Canalys highlighted that Google’s recent Nest rebranding exercise, under which it brought some of its smart speaker products under the Nest umbrella, was one of the major reasons for the downfall in its sales. Canalys also suggested Google to revamp its non-smart display products to keep up with Amazon.


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