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JD to enter smart home market

2015-03-05 10:02 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com announced on Wednesday that it plans to invest 67.5 million yuan (10.74 million U.S. dollars) in developing technology for smart homes, in which electronic devices are inter-linked.

According to an agreement signed by JD and iFLYTEK, China's equivalent of the voice technology company Nuance, the two companies will jointly launch a new information technology company.

iFLYTEK has contributed 82.5 million yuan, or 55 percent of the total registered capital of the new company. JD's investment accounts for the remaining 45 percent.

iFLYTEK is known for its voice technology products, including Voice Touch, a competitor of Apple's Siri system. The company holds about a 70-percent market share in China and is used by Chinese messaging services including Tencent QQ and Sina Weibo.

JD.com, a major competitor of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, reported net revenues of 115 billion yuan in 2014, up 66 percent year on year, in a statement on Tuesday night.

By the end of 2014, JD.com had 96.6 million active customer accounts, almost double that of 2013.

Taiwan's Topology Research Institute estimated that the value of China's smart home market size reached 3.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, and it forecast that would increase by 26 percent to 4.8 billion dollars in 2015.

News of the deal led to a surge in iFLYTEK's share price on Wednesday, with it hitting the daily increase limit of 10 percent. When the market closed, it stood at 43.42 yuan, a 7.58-percent rise.

In December, China's leading home appliances manufacturer, Midea Group, partnered with emerging smartphone maker Beijing Xiaomi Technology to cooperate in the smart home industry.

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