Messaging app Line unveils voice assistant Clova for the Asian market

Messaging app Line unveils voice assistant Clova for the Asian market
Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been fighting for dominance in the smart assistant market, mostly in English-speaking countries. For Asian countries, there is still not a virtual assistant that speak their languages.

Messaging app Line announced recently at MWC 2017 that it will launch Alexa-like artificial intelligence assistant named Clova and an Echo-like smart speaker named Wave.

“We want to bring Clova as the leading artificial intelligence platform in Asia,” said Takeshi Idezawa, the CEO of Line.

Clova is developed by Line and its parent company Naver, the leading search engine in South Korea. Clova will work with Line applications on mobile devices and be embedded in smart speakers to assist tasks at home.

It can understand queries using speech recognition and natural language understanding capabilities. For starters, the virtual assistant will communicate in Korean and Japanese. Support for more languages may follow in the future.

Details about Wave, the Asian version of Echo, will be revealed this summer. Other manufacturers such as LG and Sony have said they will build Clova into their home appliances.

After achieving success in the messaging service, Line has expanded the business to other fields, including gaming, mobile payment, music streaming and car-hailing services. The company has made foray into AI recently, investing in Japanese IoT startup Vinclu and American voice recognition firm Sound Hound.

Line has achieved significant success in some markets worldwide. For example, the company claimed it has 68 million users in Japan in 2016 and 33 million users in Thailand; 17 million in Taiwan and 20 million in Indonesia, based on a 2014 statistics.

There’s not a market leader, or even a market player, providing voice assistant in Asian languages. With Line’s massive texting data, the company’s up-coming AI assistant has great opportunities in the regional market.
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