China’s AISpeech Raises $76M on Advanced Speech Tech; Eyes AI Chips

Suzhou City-based AI and speech technology company AISpeech announced today it had raised CN¥500 million (US$76 million) in Series D Funding led by Oriza Holdings and China Minsheng Investment Group. Chinese media reports the company is also planning an IPO on a local stock exchange.

AISpeech was founded in 2007 by University of Cambridge graduates CEO Shixing Gao and Chief scientist Kai Yu. The company develops human-machine interaction technologies with a specific research interest in natural language, speech recognition and synthesis, and voiceprints.

While Google and Amazon market their own smart speakers, AISpeech plays its role in the underlying technologies. The company boasts that over 100 million devices — speakers, home appliances, cars, robots — have accessed its APIs. AISpeech has also developed an enterprise version of a Siri-like AI business assistant.

AISpeech is also said to be exploring the AI chip sector. According to Chinese media 36Kr, the company is expected to announce a joint venture with an as yet undisclosed chip giant for the development of embedded AI chips for IoT devices. The aim is to strengthen smart voice capability, noise reduction, intelligent awakening, semantic understanding, etc.

CEO Gao says the company balanced its books in 2017 and is expected to achieve profitability in 2018.

Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen

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