Monday, 22 July 2019 12:12

China smart assistant device installed base seen dwarfing US by 2023

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China smart assistant device installed base seen dwarfing US by 2023 Pixabay

The installed base of smart assistant devices in China will reach 5.8 billion by 2023, the tech analyst firm Canalys has forecast, adding that this would be about twice the installed base of the US at the same point.

In a statement, Canalys said the total market in China was made up of a large population and household base, and consumers had the means and enthusiasm to adopt new IoT trends.

It said devices for the home such as air-conditioners, door locks, TVs and refrigerators, which could be operated by a smart assistant via the network, would reach 3.6 billion in 2023.

The prediction was that every Chinese household would own an average of seven smart assistant-compatible home devices by 2023.

“The large appliance category, which includes refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners, is expected to contribute the biggest growth,” said Canalys research analyst Cynthia Chen.

“The growing Chinese middle class is relentlessly pursuing a higher standard of living, and smart appliances will play a major part in their vision of the ideal home.

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"Appliance makers Haier, TCL and Hisense are changing their strategies to capture the trend early. Even the retailer Suning and smartphone vendor Xiaomi are aiming to disrupt the market.”

The rise of built-in smart assistants for speakers acted as a catalyst for growth of smart home devices that could be controlled via voice. Unlike compatible-only devices, smartphones, smart speakers, mobile PCs, smartwatches and connected cars had built-in smart assistants that could carry out user commands, with the leading smart assistants in China being Xiaodu, Tmall Genie and XiaoAI.

Canalys estimates that the installed base of devices with built-in smart assistants would reach 2.2 billion units in China with a CAGR of 42% between 2018 and 2023 and the smartphone would continue to be the main device category for smart assistants in 2023.

“Chinese smartphone vendors, such as Huawei, OPPO and vivo, are shifting their strategies to create IoT ecosystems with smart assistants, especially targeting homes with smart speakers and smart assistant-compatible devices,” said Canalys senior analyst Jason Low.

“Having such devices work together seamlessly, especially across brands and platforms, to create new intuitive use-cases remains an industry-wide challenge for vendors around the world.”

Canalys claimed the China market differed from the trend-setting US. “Trying to copy the successful strategies used in the US market, or elsewhere, in China will not work,” said Chen.

“For example, home security is an important area where IoT devices are being adopted. But due to the housing structure and lifestyle habits, devices embraced in China are different.

"Americans focus more on home surveillance, such as using cameras to check around their houses, while the Chinese are more concerned with using security devices in the home to take care of families.

"Over the next few years, Canalys predicts that increasing awareness of saving energy and creating a healthier living environment will also be important for the Chinese market."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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