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Chinese voice biometrics leader iFlyTek trusts offline sales to bring in most revenue

Chinese voice biometrics leader iFlyTek trusts offline sales to bring in most revenue

Chinese biometric speech and voice recognition developer iFlyTek is opening 1,000 physical stores in 2020, estimating a major increase in offline sales, writes South China Morning Post.

By opening new stores, the company’s total number of physical locations will reach some 3,000 stores. iFlyTek’s predictions run against the general estimation that online sales and digital services will skyrocket due to the global health crisis.

According to iFlyTek vice-president Li Chuangang, the physical expansion is expected to account for 70 percent of future sales, but he did not provide a specific timeline.

“Some internet companies start with e-commerce, finding it easier [to manage],” he said after a briefing. “But to be a truly great brand, an offline [sales channel] is indispensable and will play an increasingly important role as brands grow.”

iFlyTek already has two online stores and 20 authorized sellers on the Alibaba platform.

“An ideal target for offline sales is around 70 per cent,” said Li. “We believe it [offline] still has great potential.”

The company has also released its latest AI smart recorder, upgraded with enhanced transcription speed and seven foreign languages. iFlyTek’s product portfolio includes a smart translator, teaching robots and educational toys.

Since 1999, iFlyTek has been developing advanced speech recognition and natural language processing systems. The company’s largest shareholder is state-owned China Mobile.

Earlier this year, iFlyTek announced the development of voice biometrics for law enforcement.

Due to accusations that it was involved in human rights violations in China, iFlyTek was included on the U.S. Entity List last year.

More recently, together with South Korean company Hancom Group, iFlyTek established Accufly.AI that assisted with COVID-19 efforts in the country.

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