Huawei and Baidu, Inc. have announced a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement that spans from artificial intelligence (AI) platforms and technology, to internet services and content ecosystems.
The two companies aim to cultivate an open mobile and AI ecosystem built on shared success, while spurring the development of new AI applications and providing global consumers with AI that “knows you better.”
“The future is all about smart devices that will actively serve us, not just respond to what we tell them to do,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group. “With a strong background in R&D, Huawei will work with Baidu to accelerate innovation in the industry, develop the next generation of smartphones, and provide global consumers with AI that knows you better.”
“It should come as no surprise that Baidu and Huawei are working together, because we have many similarities – technology is embedded in our DNA and we have developed our own technologies in order to grow,” said Robin Li, Baidu Chairman and CEO. “The Internet era is evolving into the era of AI. Baidu has been dedicated to the field of AI for a long time. Huawei has a large user base. Together, Baidu and Huawei can do many things which we were not able to do in the past. The Chinese saying ‘let a hundred flowers bloom’ is a good way to describe our cooperation – today we planted the seeds, and I believe soon they will grow into many flowers.”
Huawei and Baidu plan to build an open ecosystem using Huawei’s HiAI platform and Baidu Brain, a compendium of the company’s AI assets and services. The open ecosystem will leverage Huawei’s Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) and Baidu’s PaddlePaddle deep learning framework to empower AI developers, and provide consumers with a broad range of AI offerings and new smart service experiences.
The two companies will work together on voice and image recognition for smart devices to enable more seamless human-machine interaction. They will also jointly build an augmented reality (AR) ecosystem, combining hardware and software to create a more immersive and accessible AR experience for everyday consumers.
Regarding internet services and content ecosystems, the companies will strengthen cooperation in areas such as search and feed to bring consumers a wealth of quality content with a more intuitive and convenient service experience.
Huawei is a global smartphone manufacturer in the world. With a strong belief in the importance of customer-centricity, Huawei is actively exploring the future of smart technologies to help improve people’s digital experience, which includes innovation in the 5G, AI, AR, virtual reality (VR), and other related domains. In 2017, Huawei released the Mate 10, the world’s first smartphone powered by an embedded AI chipset, the Kirin 970. Huawei has been actively building the HiAI ecosystem based on these chips.
Baidu is a Chinese language Internet search provider and, since 2016, its strategy has focused on two core pillars: strengthening its mobile foundation and leading in AI. Baidu is using AI to elevate its current core business, and in parallel, building out new AI-enabled initiatives through an open platform and ecosystem approach. For the third quarter of 2017, Baidu’s feed revenue on an annualized basis exceeded $1 billion USD, and daily user time spend on its flagship app Mobile Baidu grew 15 percent sequentially, the fastest among apps in China with daily active users over 100 million, according to QuestMobile.
After a decade of rapid progress, the mobile phone industry has reached a critical point in its development, and the next generation of smartphones is just over the horizon. Interactive technologies including voice, machine vision, and AI will drive the industry forward. Originally developed to be personal tools, mobile phones will become a natural extension of the human body and AI-powered assistants for consumers. At this critical inflection point in the industry, Huawei and Baidu will continue to prioritize consumer needs and leverage each other’s strengths to form a partnership that benefits everyone.
AI is driving a new round of industry transformation. In-depth strategic cooperation between Huawei and Baidu will open up more possibilities for the development of AI and other technologies. It will help lay the foundation for a sustainable mobile and AI ecosystem, so that future technology can better understand users, better serve people, and promote better economic and social outcomes around the world.