Huawei and Baidu have announced a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement that aims to cultivate an open mobile AI ecosystem.
The two companies plan to build the ecosystem using Huawei’s HiAI platform and Baidu Brain, a compendium of the company’s AI assets and services. The open ecosystem will leverage Huawei’s neural network processing unit (NPU) and Baidu’s PaddlePaddle deep learning framework to empower AI developers and support a broad range of consumer-focused AI offerings and smart service experiences.
Beyond artificial intelligence, Huawei and Baidu will also work together on voice and image recognition for smart devices, and jointly build an augmented reality (AR) ecosystem, including hardware and software. In the area of internet services and content ecosystems, the companies will strengthen cooperation in areas such as search and feed.
“The future is all about smart devices that will actively serve us, not just respond to what we tell them to do,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group. “With a strong background in R&D, Huawei will work with Baidu to accelerate innovation in the industry, develop the next generation of smartphones, and provide global consumers with AI that knows you better.”
“The Internet era is evolving into the era of AI. Baidu has been dedicated to the field of AI for a long time,” said Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li. “Huawei has a large user base. Together, Baidu and Huawei can do many things which we were not able to do in the past.”
Both companies have been making recent pushes into AI. In 2017, Huawei released the Mate 10, the world’s first smartphone powered by the Kirin 970 embedded AI chipset. Huawei says it has been actively building the HiAI ecosystem based on these chips. Meanwhile, in 2016 Baidu began refocusing its strategy on two core pillars: mobile and AI. Baidu says it is using AI to elevate its current core business, and in parallel, building out new AI-enabled initiatives through an open platform and ecosystem approach.