Feeds

Apple impasse sees China Mobile buy own speech tech

How can we bring the iPhone to China's largest 3G carrier, Siri?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

China Mobile has made a defensive move against Apple’s plans to launch a Chinese version of Siri by courting its own speech recognition investment.

The carrier is poised to make a strategic investment or acquire local voice recognition technology firm Anhui USTC iFlytek.

The iFlytek technology is widely used in Android devices, which help users to search and react on mobile phones through voice requests.

Flagging its Siri-esque intentions at the release of its most recent financial results, the carrier revealed that profit growth has slowed to a glacial pace due to the high cost of acquisition of new smartphone users. Despite a sagging result the telco giant still boasts 683.1 million subscribers. While China Mobile has the largest subscriber base, its share of 3G users has dropped to 38% at the end of June, from 44% a year earlier.

China Mobile and Apple have reached an impasse on negotiations to bring the iPhone to its 3G network.

“Both China Mobile and Apple are willing to pursue cooperation but we cannot reach consensus during the discussions,” China Mobile CEO Li Yue said.

The speech recognition target, Anhui USTC iFLytek Co, halted trading (PDF) on Friday for a "coming strategic investment announcement."

Founded in 1999, iFlytek has 5,000 partners in China and a 70% share of the Chinese-language voice recognition market.

China Mobile has confirmed that it has entered into preliminary discussions with iFlytek for potential subscription of new shares in the Shenzhen-listed company on a non-public offering basis.

“We believe there is a great potential in voice applications in mobile internet. With iFlytek’s technology and our scale, we can achieve more collaborative effects in the mobile internet market,” said Yue. Earlier in the month an industry group branded, the Speech Industry Alliance of China (SIAC), was formed backed by China Mobile and 18 other parties including Huawei and China telecom to focus on Chinese-language voice technology.

Last month, China’s biggest search engine Baidu also launched its own path into the speech recognition act launching a specialist lab to develop and innovate on new platforms.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?