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Alibaba teams up with Audi, Renault and Honda on smart cars

E-commerce giant beefing up auto industry efforts in push to diversify business

Alibaba is putting its Tmall Genie smart speakers into cars.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- Audi, Renault and Honda have become the latest carmakers to team up with Alibaba Group Holding in connected car technology, as the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate seeks to diversify its business while global auto companies look to serve China's tech-savvy middle class.

Under the partnership -- announced on Tuesday at CES Asia technology show in Shanghai -- the three companies will install Alibaba's artificial intelligence-powered smart speaker in their new vehicles. Known as Tmall Genie, the speaker helps drivers find nearby tourist attractions, purchase movie tickets and even order takeout food, all via voice command. Those who have Tmall Genie-compatible smart devices at home can also heat up their room or turn on dishwashers while they are still on the way, the companies said.

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