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Chinese Search Giant Buys AI Startup

The trend of enterprises investing into artificial intelligence is not exclusive to North America.

Baidu, a China-based search engine, has acquired, a Seattle-born startup that offers a platform for developers to create natural language technology services such as chatbots.

“Since its inception, the mission of has been making human machine interaction simple with natural language understanding technologies,” founder Xuchen Yao wrote online. “Now [our] products are deployed in smartphone apps, speakers, appliances, web chat, cars, homes, conference rooms, offices, hospitals, and even telephone lines.”

For Baidu, it was likely an easy decision to make: according to Yao, is already profitable.

Baidu, like Google, has recently grown very interested in expanding beyond search—it’s even been dabbling in autonomous driving technology, too. Purchases like that of help build the company’s in-house assortment of AI technologies to integrate with existing services or leverage to launch new products.’s three products—Snowboy, NLU, and ChatFlow—will remain operational.