image

China innovators

Audio sharing platform Ximalaya FM launches smart speaker to aid Communist Party members with studies

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2018, 8:33am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2018, 8:32am

Ximalaya FM, a Chinese audio sharing platform, has introduced a smart speaker aimed at helping Chinese Communist Party members improve party knowledge during their spare time.

The smart speaker, designed with a red-coloured body and a Party emblem on the front, contains a collection of audio content on Party classes to allow time-challenged members to brush up on their knowledge when convenient, according to information provided by the company.

Ximalaya said the Party-specific speaker – launched in July 2018 – is a tailor-made product based on its popular smart speaker Xiaoya, and is only open to orders from Party organisations above the county level in China and is not for retail sale.

The collection of audio content on Party classes is only available on the tailor-made Party model, while Xiaoya – priced at between 549 yuan (US$80) and 899 yuan at official retail stores on Tmall – does not have access to the content, according to Ximalaya FM.

Will Baidu be third-time lucky with a discount on its smart speaker?

Smart speakers, which connect and deploy internet-based electronic products through artificial intelligence (AI)-backed voice assistants, have become a popular kit in China and major technology giants including Alibaba Group Holding, Xiaomi and JD.com have all launched smart-speaker products to tap a market that is forecast to reach nearly US$23 billion in 2018, according to Juniper Research.

Ximalaya FM’s Xiaoya smart speaker can be deployed via full voice control and deliver intelligent interaction, according to marketing materials from the company. Users can ask the Party-specific smart speaker to broadcast Party-related documents through voice command, and the speaker will be able to identify and resume content from the last point at which it was halted by the user.

The tailor-made smart speaker for Party members will not only offer convenience, it can also “explain policies in plainer language” and help more people to better understand the Party’s thinking through content provided by the Communist Party and Communist Youth League in China, according to Ximalaya FM.

Chinese consumers keen to own AI-enabled devices, survey suggests

The speaker shares other functions with Xiaoya, such as weather reports, alarm clock features, conference reminders, translation services, and home appliance controls.

The Chinese Communist Party currently has about 90 million members and has asked that all members learn the Party’s policies on a continuous basis. Party members should spend no less than 32 hours each year on their Party education, according to official Party regulations.