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Baidu Overtakes Google To Become Second Largest Smart Speaker Vendor

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China's Baidu.com Inc. has overtaken Google to become the world's second biggest smart speaker vendor, according to the latest analysis from research firm Canalys. Google occupied the top position in the year-ago period.

The data also showed that the global smart speaker market grew 55.4 percent in the second quarter of 2019 to reach 26.1 million units, up from 16.8 million units in the year-ago quarter.

Despite serving only the Chinese market, Baidu's shipment of smart speakers surged to 4.5 million units in the quarter from 0.1 million units in the year-ago period, representing annual growth of 3,700 percent. The Chinese search giant's market share jumped to 17.3 percent from a mere 0.7 percent last year.

"Aggressive marketing and go-to-market campaigns built strong momentum for Baidu in China. The vendor stood out as a key driver of smart displays to achieve 45 percent smart display product mix in its Q2 shipments," said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen.

Baidu has pushed sales of cheap smart speaker models recently. The company's most affordable and basic Xiadou speaker sells for as low as 89 yuan, or $12, in China.

China's smart speaker market too outperformed other markets with the country doubling its quarterly shipments to 12.6 million units, which is also more than double the U.S. market that stands at 6.1 million units.

Amazon.com retained the top spot among the smart speaker vendors by shipping 6.6 million units of Echo smart speakers in the quarter, up 61.1 percent from 4.1 million units in the prior-year period. The company's market share increased to 25.4 percent from 24.5 percent last year.

Google slipped to the third spot among the vendors as it shipped only 4.3 million units in the quarter, down 19.8 percent from 5.4 million units a year ago. The tech giant's market share almost halved to 16.7 percent from 32.3 percent in the same period last year.

According to Canalys, Google's transition to the Nest branding while shifting to smart displays proved to be a challenge, especially as the company started to roll out its Nest Hub smart display globally.

However, Google and Baidu compete in mutually exclusive markets and therefore are not direct competitors. Baidu sells its devices only in China, while Google has no presence in the Chinese smart speaker market.

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