Microsoft has announced a chatbot for the Chinese market that the company launched in 2014 – Xiaoice, which will be integrated into its own company. According to Neowin, Microsoft explained the goal of making chatbot grow faster by focusing more on market-specific innovations. Xiaoice will also try to build a “trading ecosystem”. Although Xiaoice was originally a Chinese product, it was expanded to Japan (under the name Rinna) and Indonesia.
Microsoft’s Xiaoice company will include a number of big names in the leadership row, including former CEO Baidu Lu Qi, who used to work in Microsoft’s AI division. There is also Jing Kun – who helped launch Xiaoice and Harry Shum – head of Microsoft’s AI & Research division until November 2019. Shum will assume the role of chairman for Xiaoice.
At the end of 2018, Microsoft revealed that its chatbot attracted 660 million users and that it had some unique functions, such as being able to design its own images. Microsoft will maintain its stake in the new company and Xiaoice will use technology licensed by Microsoft to continue developing chatbots.