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China tech

Baidu fundraising puts $3bn value on smart device business

Chinese search leader enlists IDG and CITIC arm as investors

Baidu's Xiaodu robot has facial and voice recognition features.    © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Chinese web search leader Baidu has brought in outside investors for its voice assistant and smart device business, setting the stage for a potential spinoff while valuing the operations at 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion).

Baidu's "Smart Living Group" is best known for artificial intelligence voice assistant DuerOS, its equivalent of Amazon.com's Alexa or Apple's Siri. DuerOS has been deployed both on Baidu's Xiaodu smart speakers, which vie for market leadership in China with ones from Xiaomi and Alibaba Group Holding, as well as third-party gadgets.

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