Audio: Prospering in the ever-present medium

This article is part of a series of articles on audio – prospering in the ever-present medium.Read more.

Need to know

  • With tens of thousands of characters, the Chinese writing system is not suitable for text input – it is 2.8 times faster to speak Mandarin than to type it
  • This desire not to type has fuelled the growth of voice on Chinese messaging platforms such as WeChat, where over six million voice messages were sent daily during 2017
  • China’s acceptance of voice technology is second only to India, and there are more voice assistants being used in China than anywhere else
  • The Chinese market for audio content is growing, with consumers tuning in to streaming such as including Himalayan, Qingting and Lychee
  • Local Chinese tech firms are at the vanguard of voice innovation, most notably iFlytek, which uses AI to tackle natural language processing of China’s many dialects
  • The market for voice-enabled devices is more diverse than in the West, with Chinese tech firms including Alibaba, Xiaomi, Huawei, Baidu and JD.com all having launched their own branded interfaces
  • The release of WeChat’s voice assistant, Xiaowei, is anticipated to be prove another decisive driver for the adoption of voice across China
  • With a generation of only-child economic migrants, China is also expected to be a test-bed for voice underpinning a more personal relationship between man and machine