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> That's the sound of Alibaba jumping into the tech battle for the home. The Chinese e-commerce giant, and one of the world's biggest online retailers, launching the Genie Wednesday, the voice activated digital assistant, it hopes will take on Amazon's Alexa. Genie can provide news, weather, has speakers to play music, can control smart home appliances, and, of course, it can order stuff from Alibaba's TMall with nothing but a few words, just like Alexa can.
The big difference? Genie only understands Mandarin and will only be available in China. Alibaba clearly going after its home market where e-commerce is expected to surpass $1.1 trillion this year. The other part of that strategy, pricing. At about $75, that's a significant discount compared to the devices coming out of the West.
The market for voice-activated assistants is growing but it's also getting crowded. Besides Amazon and Alibaba, Apple's Siri is getting an upgrade for the home. Google Home is another option, and there's competition Isn't coming from Asia as well with Tencent, Baidu and Samsung not far behind, all trying to get a piece of a market that research firm strategy analytics expands the surge to $155 billion with in the next five years.