Baidu's AI voice assistant Xiaodu closes funding at $5.1 billion valuation

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FILE PHOTO: Men interact with a Baidu AI robot near the company logo at its headquarters in Beijing

(Reuters) - Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc said on Tuesday its artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant Xiaodu Technology has closed Series B financing at a $5.1 billion valuation.

This comes in the midst of a regulatory crackdown on the tech industry by the Chinese authorities that has led to an upheaval in many sectors including as e-commerce, ride-hailing and cryptocurrency.

Xiaodu is the developer of DuerOS, a voice assistant system based on AI that supports television, speakers and other smart home appliances. It completed its Series A funding in November 2020 at a post-money valuation of $2.9 billion, said Baidu.

Earlier in March, Baidu said that its AI chip unit Kunlun also completed a round of fundraising, which according to one source with direct knowledge of the matter valued the business at about $2 billion. (https://reut.rs/3D9Xcbo)

Baidu said on Tuesday that after the transaction it would remain a majority shareholder.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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