(Yicai Global) Sept. 29 -- Baidu's Smart Living Group, the division of the Chinese search giant that focuses on smart devices, is valued at USD2.9 billion following a new round of financing, according to the company.
Baidu Capital, IDG Capital and Citic Private Equity took part in the Series A fundraiser, Beijing-based Baidu said in a statement today, without divulging the amount secured. The deal is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter.
SLG runs Baidu's AI voice assistant DuerOS, and develops smart products based on the technology, including Xiaodu Smart Speaker and Xiaodu Smart Display. Disclosure of its value may suggest Baidu plans to spin off and list the business.
"We are pleased to see the rapid growth of SLG since inception in 2017, to become a leading player in China and globally in the fast-growing voice assistant and smart devices market by leveraging Baidu's AI capabilities," Chief Executive Robin Li said.
Baidu's smart speakers had a 16.7 percent global market share in the second quarter, putting it third after Amazon and Google.
Baidu will still own super voting rights in SLG and is expected to continue to consolidate its financial results, the statement said.
Shares of Baidu [NASDAQ: BIDU] fell 2.8 percent to USD122.58 apiece yesterday. The stock has gained 19 percent in the past 12 months.
Editor: Ben Armour