Baidu invests in Chinese smart lock start-up

Beijing – Baidu, China’s dominant internet search engine operator, said on Tuesday that it led a 600 million yuan (US$87 million) financing round in Chinese smart lock start-up YunDing Network Technology, pushing further into the growing market for smart home devices in the country.

Apart from the financial injection, Baidu said in a statement that it will power YunDing with its cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and smart cloud service to “further complete its smart home ecosystem”.

Smart locks are seen by companies as a vital product to tap into the burgeoning consumer market for smart home devices. “The arrival of the AI era has brought a great opportunity to revolutionise the smart lock industry,” said Baidu in a statement.

The investment is Baidu’s latest effort to bring AI into people’s everyday lives. The company has teamed up with several home appliance majors in China, including Haier Group and TCL Corp, to make voice-controlled speakers as well as smart fridges and televisions. (SCMP)