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Alibaba seeks to improve sound recognition tech with acquisition

Alibaba said it has acquired Beijing Sound Connect Technology Co to strengthen its sound recognition and human-machine interactive technologies.
Zhang Suoqing / SHINE

Alibaba said it has acquired Beijing Sound Connect Technology Co to strengthen its sound recognition and human-machine interactive technologies.

Founder Fu Qiang of Sound Connect and four other team members will join Alibaba and establish two acoustics labs that enable machines to detect human speech in complicated conditions.

Fu and his team will help beef up the e-commerce giant's audio signal processing technologies and push forward the integration of existing technologies to be applied under various circumstances, such as smart home furniture. They will also be working on the Internet of Things technologies and hardware and software solutions.

Fu, a former researcher at the Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been conducting research on speech signal processing, especially in the microphone array and machine learning based noise reduction sector.

Alibaba Group Holdings said last month it also acquired Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems Co Ltd, an integrated circuit design house, as it seeks to strengthen its own chip-making capabilities.

Alibaba Group announced last year it will strengthen its technology research input, aiming to invest more than US$15 billion in research and development over the next three years.

Its global research program, called the Alibaba DAMO Academy (Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook), is expected to increase its technological collaborations worldwide in order to advance the development of cutting-edge technology.


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