There are many reasons why voice-enabled technologies are taking off in China and brands should see developments in this sphere as transformative in the same way that mobile technologies have been for the past two decades.

Writing in the current issue of Admap (topic: Audio: Prospering in the ever-present medium), Tim Doherty, Head of Creative Solutions and Innovation, Dentsu Aegis Network, China, notes that it is 2.8 times faster to speak Mandarin than to type it – making voice assistants increasingly attractive options for Chinese consumers.

In How China is finding its voice, he outlines several other reasons why China “is at the forefront of the voice revolution”.

Like many other countries, China is seeing an audio renaissance, with people listening to podcasts, lectures and audio-books, which is helping to set the stage for the acceptance of audio/voice interfaces.

Added to that there is strong government support for research in this area (smart voice is one of the Chinese government’s four focus areas for AI development) while businesses face fewer data security and privacy restrictions compared with their counterparts in the US and EU.

That has helped the rise of world-class companies like iFlytek, which not only boasts a 98% recognition rate for Mandarin but also provides natural language processing that can perform in all the major Chinese dialects.

At the same time, a swathe of local tech firms are aggressively building out their different voice capabilities and creating ecosystems of third-party companies using those in their own products and services.

But the biggest game changer for voice in China will be the release of WeChat’s Xiaowei voice assistant, says Doherty.

“Already today, 26% of current users of voice technology in China report having used voice interactions to make a purchase or book a service. Once you marry the ubiquity of WeChat with the convenience of voice, the use of voice in commerce will really take off.”

This issue of Admap features eight articles by thought leaders from across the globe, from companies such as HSBC, Mindshare and Ipsos Mori. WARC subscribers can access a deck which summarises the expert advice from contributors and key considerations on the topic.

Sourced from Admap