China's answer to Google, search giant Baidu, has become the world's second-biggest seller of smart speakers, according to Canalys.
The research firm claims Baidu has overtaken Google by capturing 17.3 percent of the global market, with 4.5 million shipments in the second quarter of 2019.
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Baidu's 4.5 million smart speaker shipments represent an incredible 3,700 percent year-on-year growth. Amazon is still the worldwide leader; however, with more than 25 percent share of the market and 6.6 million shipments made.
Baidu's smart speakers run on an AI platform called DuerOS. As per the Verge, the company initially went for the high-end market with the Raven H speaker. Where the company has had its real success, however, is in less expensive models, such as the Xiaodu speaker, which sells for as low as 89 yuan (~$12).
According to Canalys, Baidu overtook previous Chinese leader Alibaba in the first quarter of this year.
The power of the Chinese market
Baidu and Google are not actually direct competitors - Baidu sells its products exclusively in China, and Google sells practically everywhere but China. So Baidu's impressive growth shows the impressive power of the Chinese market.
Another example is the fact that Huawei saw 23 percent growth in the first half of 2019 despite the U.S. ban.
Google does have the advantage of being able to sell to other countries. An example, as the Verge writes, is the fact that today's launch of Google's Nest Hub (previously Google Home Hub) in India, is opening up a potentially huge untapped market.
Smart speakers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Over 21% of the American population over the age of 18own a smart speaker.
Baidu now has an incredibly strong hold on the market in China.