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Apple HomePod set to launch in China, beating Amazon and Google

The launch in China is notable as this would make Apple the first major smart speaker maker from the US to launch in China’s huge internet market

Apple HomePod set to launch in China, beating Amazon and Google
Apple has an advantage over Google and Amazon in the Chinese smart speaker market as the company’s Siri voice assistant supports Cantonese and Mandarin(AFP)

Apple Inc. on Wednesday said its HomePod wireless speaker will go on sale in China next year, potentially beating Amazon.com Inc. and Google to the world’s most-populous nation.

On its website in China, Apple added a banner that said the speaker will go on sale in ‘early 2019.’ The Hong Kong website announced a similar move. The speaker will cost HK $2,799 ($358), according to the website, roughly in line with pricing in the U.S. and other countries.

The HomePod originally launched in the U.S., Australia, and U.K. in February 2018, and expanded to Canada, France, and Germany in June. It also debuted in Mexico and Spain in October.

Apple has an advantage over Google and Amazon in the Chinese smart speaker market as the company’s Siri voice assistant supports Cantonese and Mandarin, while Google’s digital assistant and Amazon’s Alexa don’t. Apple also already has a slew of integrated services in China and Hong Kong, like iCloud, Maps and Apple Music. On the other hand, Google’s internet offerings in mainland China have long been limited.

According to Canalys, China was the fastest growing smart speaker market in the second quarter of 2018, contributing to 52 percent of the category’s growth globally.

Apple also released on Wednesday a standalone version of its USB-C charging adapter for iPad Pros and a clear case for the iPhone XR.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 09:38 IST

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