Alibaba on Wednesday launched a voice assistant product, Tmall Genie, costing 499 yuan(US.4), as part of its strategy to tap the booming market in smart appliances for the home and build an entrance point for its wide range of digital services.
Major technology companies and e-commerce players including Amazon, Apple and JD.com have unveiled similar smart hardware to build up a complete ecosystem and to showcase their artificial intelligence capability.
AliGenie is backed by Alibaba's cloud computing and provides Mandarin voice recognition and will hit the shelves early next month.
It links a wide variety of Alibaba services such as online shopping and digital entertainment.
And the company is also seeking collaboration with toy manufacturers, hoteliers and offline retailers.
Alibaba also unveiled an open platform for content providers, third party application developers and smart home appliance makers to offer their services and is already linked to 100 types of devices.
It hopes to provide smart interaction interfaces between humans and machines that also include a wide range of online services.