Baidu leads US$87 million investment in Chinese smart lock start-up YunDing
- Smart locks are seen by companies as a vital product to tap into the burgeoning consumer market for smart home devices
Baidu, China’s dominant internet search engine operator, said on Tuesday that it led a 600 million yuan (US$87 million) financing round in Chinese smart lock start-up YunDing Network Technology, pushing further into the growing market for smart home devices in the country.
Apart from the financial injection, Baidu said in a statement that it will power YunDing with its cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and smart cloud service to “further complete its smart home ecosystem”.
Smart locks are seen by companies as a vital product to tap into the burgeoning consumer market for smart home devices. “The arrival of the AI era has brought a great opportunity to revolutionise the smart lock industry,” said Baidu in a statement.
The investment is Baidu’s latest effort to bring AI into people’s everyday lives. The company has teamed up with several home appliance majors in China, including Haier Group and TCL Corp, to make voice-controlled speakers as well as smart fridges and televisions.
The announcement of the investment came on the same day that Baidu’s founder Robin Li Yanhong was honoured as one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs at Beijing’s high-profile event to mark the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening up.
Sitting in the Great Hall among some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, academics, and athletes, Li was described as a “representative of the sea turtles” – China’s term for top talent who trained in the West and returned later to contribute to the mainland economy.