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Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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Volkswagen Reposes Faith in China With Investment in AI Start up

Volkswagen Invests US$180 Million in Mobvoi.

(Photo : Getty Images. ) Volkswagen has made a US$180 million in a Chinese AI start up firm Mobvoi in order to enhance the driving experience.

Volkswagen has further deepened its ties with the Chinese market by investing in a local start-up company that primarily works on speech recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The fresh investment comes at the back of other investments made by the German automotive giant in the world's second-largest economy.

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The Volkswagen Group China invested US$180 million in series D round of funding in Mobvoi, a Chinese AI start-up firm that was founded in 2012 by a Google research scientist. Over the years the start up company has gained lot of prominence with its innovative products and today counts Google as one of its backers.

After the investment, Volkswagen will work to capitalize on Mobvoi's cutting-edge voice recognition and AI technologies to enhance the driving experience. One of the Mobvoi's AI products that will soon hit the Volkswagen is Ticmirror, a smart rearview mirror that offers host of functions such as navigation and search function for points of interest and instant messaging. 

"We are impressed by Mobvoi's innovative approach of AI technologies, and we are pleased to form this joint venture to explore the next generation of smart mobility," Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen China said in a joint statement.

Incidentally, AI has become the buzzword in the global automotive industry, with host of companies investing in the field in order to improve the overall driving experience. Last month, China's ride sharing giant opened Didi Chuxing opened a new R&D centre in California that will solely focus on developing AI products.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen's latest investment in Mobvoi is symbolic of company's unfettered faith in the Chinese market despite the ongoing economic slowdown. China is a critical market for the German automotive giant, with 40 percent of its global passenger car sales coming from China last year. 

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