Home / Technology / Google Invests In Mobvoi, Its Android Wear Partner In China

Google Invests In Mobvoi, Its Android Wear Partner In China


Google’s services are not accessible in China, though that isn’t interlude it from creation a poignant investment in a company formed on Chinese soil. The U.S. hunt hulk is backing Mobvoi, a three-year-old association specializing in mobile voice technology.

The twin already have business ties. Mobvoi is a association that Google picked to bring Android Wear, a handling complement for wearables, to China, so this deal takes things adult to a subsequent level.

The distance of a investment, that is a Series C turn for Mobvoi, has not been disclosed, but Mobvoi co-founder Yuanyuan Li reliable that Google has turn a minority shareholder. The deal, she said, takes a association to $75 million in investment to date. Since Mobvoi formerly lifted $10 million Series B and $1.6 million Series A rounds, Google’s investment is only bashful of $65 million.

Update: Mobvoi has simplified to TechCrunch that it lifted formerly unannounced appropriation rounds so a volume invested by Google is reduce than a $60-65 million that we creatively reported. The association declined to divulge a value of those unannounced rounds or Google’s investment when we asked directly.

Beyond a Android Wear deal, a dual companies have copiousness in common. Beijing-based Mobvoi was started by ex-Googlers — CEO Zhifei Li and CTO Mike Lei are both former investigate scientists with Google U.S. — and Li said the company’s DNA is heavily shabby by a tech giant.

“We used a Google indication from day one,” she told TechCrunch in an interview. “We wanted to have same enlightenment and group values. The co-operation [on bringing Android Wear to China] went unequivocally well… and  showed seductiveness and motionless to make an investment.”

On a business and product side, Mobvoi is really Googley, too.

The association is substantially best famous for Chumenwenwen, a mobile voice hunt use really many in a character of Siri or Google Now. The use is same to a practical butler, permitting users to perform a operation of tasks — including search, checking weather, shopping items, and some-more — only regulating their voice. Li said a association has struck deals with over 100 calm partners to give users entrance to several services via Chumenwenwen.

Mobvoi used a healthy denunciation record to build out a possess smartwatch software, too. Ticwear is a ROM that pairs with Android Wear to make a Google-run handling complement — that is kneecapped in China interjection to a government’s blockage of Google services — work in mainland China.

Beyond building smartwatch software, that works on comparison watches like a Moto 360, Mobvoi went a step serve and grown a possess hardware: the Ticwatch. Li said a association has sole 30,000 units of a smartwatch, that is labelled between $160-$190 in China, though it stays focused on program development.

“Our idea isn’t to be a watch manufacturer, [but] we’re happy to see early adopters shopping a product,” she said.

ticwatch mobvoi

Mobvoi pronounced it will use a new financing to sinecure talent from opposite a universe and continue refine a program services — Ticwear is updated each dual weeks, many like Xiaomi’s proceed to a MIUI Android program — while it is skeleton to drop a toes into robotics and it is also working on a possess in-car software. That latter product is, again, many like a Chinafied chronicle of Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto from Google.

Given a many business/tech similarities between both companies and reports that the U.S. firm is looking to open adult a services in China — and in sold a Google Play Store — is today’s investment a pointer that Google has found a association in China to reconstruct a business there?

Perhaps there’s even a probability of a full Google buyout in a future?

Not so, according to Li.

“We value this partnership a lot, and honour Google as an investor, [but it is] still a minority financier and we will concentration on what we trust in and in a products,” she told TechCrunch. “We’re not changing what we’ve planned, though there are really some-more opportunities [that will open up].”

Google, for a part, pronounced it has “nothing to announce during this time” when we asked about intensity skeleton to enhance a range of a partnership with Mobvoi and free a Google Play Store in China.

The association might be decorous on a China plans, though today’s news is undoubted justification that those skeleton do exist in some form. Google Inc and a Google Capital VC arm have done investments in China in a past — including a $5 million interest in song and video site Xuneli way behind in 2007 — though this understanding with Mobvoi is positively a many vital to date, and it sets off thoughts about what a hunt hulk has adult a sleeve.

Note: This post has been updated to scold a name of a Mobvoi spokesperson. Apologies for any confusion.

Featured Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/20/google-invests-in-mobvoi-its-android-wear-partner-in-china/

Scroll To Top