Alibaba reportedly to launch product similar to Amazon Echo

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding is planning to launch a product mimicking Inc's "Echo" next week, a source familiar with the matter told leading news wires on Thursday.

Launched in 2014 by the US e-commerce giant, "Amazon Echo" is a speaker which allows users to leave on it for as long as needed and give voice orders to, similar to Siri on an Apple iPhone. More importantly, it allows users to buy products from shopping sites.

Alibaba's new product would be made available only in China and speak only MandarinReuters Reuters - Reuters

Alibaba's new product would be made available only in China and speak only Mandarin, the source told Reuters. The device could come as early as next week, people familiar with the matter told The Information.

Alibaba did not respond to a request for comment on the reports.

Apple and Google, a unit of Alphabet, have unveiled products similar to Echo with the HomePod and Google Home.

While Alibaba has in the past distanced itself saying it is not a direct competitor to Amazon, the two e-commerce giants have similarities beyond shopping, including movies, cloud, groceries and artificial intelligence.

This week also saw the Chinese e-commerce company invest an additional $1 billion in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group, boosting its stake by nearly a third to 83 percent, in a bid to hone in on the burgeoning e-tail market.

Meanwhile, Alibaba said last week it aims to achieve gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $1 trillion in the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2020. The Chinese e-commerce giant also intends to create 100 million jobs and serve 2 billion customers over the next three years.

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