Tencent to release voice assistant for WeChat

Chinese tech giant Tencent is poised to release a voice-operated digital assistant in the vein of Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa for its wildly popular WeChat super app, Bloomberg reports

Bloomberg said that the technology, unveiled at a company conference, has been named ‘Xiaowei’.

As with its contemporaries, Tencent’s upcoming digital assistant will be capable of performing simple everyday tasks for WeChat users such as setting alarms, playing music, opening web pages and running internet searches.

Xiaowei will also benefit from direct access to Tencent’s host of WeChat functions, with WeChat Executive Zhou Jie reportedly noting at the conference that the assistant will also connect with the platform’s third party mini-apps developed by companies such as Meituan Dianping and ride-hailing firm DiDi Chuxing.

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While Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant have little to no presence in China, Tencent’s fellow Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Baidu, and Huawei have each developed and launched their own voice assistants in tandem with the market’s increase in smart products.

Bloomberg added that Tencent already sells a range of smart speakers in competition with Alibaba, Huawei and Baidu, but Xiaowei marks the first instance of Tencent looking to incorporate such technology in its mobile operations.

Tencent’s decision to develop and release its own voice assistant for WeChat comes during a time of limited growth in its video game publishing unit, precipitated by an increase in governmental scrutiny that has delayed publication approvals for new games.

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