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BEIJING (Reuters) – Google will take a minority stake in Beijing-based artificial intelligence firm Mobvoi as part of a $75 million fundraising round, the start-up said on Tuesday, as the U.S. search giant tries to rebuild its presence in China.
Mobvoi will maintain a controlling stake, it said in an e-mailed statement. The size of Google’s investment was not disclosed, although TechCrunch’s Jon Russell reports that Google likely paid more than $60 million.
“Mobvoi’s Yufan Wang confirmed that Google has become a minority shareholder. The deal, she said, takes the company to $75 million in investment to date. Since Mobvoi previously raised $10 million Series B and $1.6 million Series A rounds, Google’s investment is just shy of $65 million,” Russell writes.
Google’s parent company is now named Alphabet Inc.
The Chinese start-up works on artificial intelligence (AI) voice-controlled software, like that used in Google’s Android products for mobile search. Mobvoi previously partnered with the U.S. firm to provide Chinese-language voice search for the latter’s Android Wear smartwatch operating system.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)