Amid a flurry of reports on the growth of the smart-speaker market, research firm Canalys has offered a different angle: it says that China is now the fastest-growing market for these devices.

“Despite strong growth in the US, China became the growth engine this quarter, contributing 52% to worldwide volume growth, against 16% from the US,” claimed the company.

What was that global growth? Canalys claims shipments grew by 187% to 16.8m units in the second quarter of 2018, including 5.4m Google Homes, 4.1m Amazon Echos, 3m of Alibaba’s Tmail Genies and 2m of Xiaomi’s Xiaoai Mini AI speakers. Apple HomePod shipments weren’t broken out in this particular study.

More smart-speaker numbers come from NPD in the US, which has a new prediction. “Sales of voice-activated speakers will add an incremental $1.6 billion dollars to the US technology industry through 2019,” it claimed. “According to the report, demand for voice control in streaming speakers will grow the segment to nearly $2.7 billion by 2019.”

The reports came out as rumours emerged of a new Google device that could be on sale by Christmas: a smart speaker with a built-in screen, competing with Amazon’s Echo Show. “Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen,” one source told the Nikkei Asian Review.

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