(Yicai Global) March 28 -- Iflytek Co. [SHE:002230], a provider of intelligent voice and artificial intelligence products, reported a 13.9 percent increase in net profit to CNY484 million (USD70.2 million) in 2016 compared with the previous year, shows the company's latest financial data. However, Iflytek did not disclose the amount of profit it made from its artificial intelligence (AI) business.
As China's first listed company focusing on voice technology, Iflytek's market value has soared from CNY3 billion in 2008 when it was listed to CNY48 billion now. The company is regarded as a leading player among AI-related firms listed on the A share market.
Iflytek's 2016 annual report did not specify the contribution of AI to its total profit. However, the company achieved CNY3.32 billion in revenues last year, up 32.78 percent from a year ago, its financial data shows. Its top three revenue contributors were education products and services (27.44 percent), information engineering (25.07 percent) and telecom value-added products (12.17 percent), suggesting that Iflytek's main businesses remain to be software products, services and system integration.
A New York Times article published last February on the development of AI technology in China and the US called Iflytek an AI company focusing on speech recognition and understanding natural language, saying that Iflytek has won international competitions both in speech synthesis and translation between Chinese and English.
The company's investment in research and development as a percentage of sales revenue has been higher than 20 percent for years, said Liu Qingfeng, chairman and president of Iflytek, said at a meeting about company's 2016 online earnings. Iflytek's R&D efforts mainly focus on the research of core AI technologies and the application of such technologies in education, smart city, consumer products, public security, smart cars and call centers. In terms of its AI strategy, Iflytek has established a strong presence in the education sector, which is set to largely contribute to its profit growth.