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China is fastest-growing smart-speaker market says Canalys

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.

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Xiaomi and Netease strike ‘copyright transfer’ agreement

The age of full-catalogue-exclusivity deals with Chinese music services is coming to an end, with the government there having nudged the various companies to strike deals for fairer sub-licensing of the catalogues they control. The latest example is a deal between smartphone-maker Xiaomi and NetEase Cloud Music, who have signed a ‘copyright transfer agreement’ according to news site Technode.

“The agreement will give Xiaomi access to music from HIM International Music and Tianyue Media, including such artists as SHE, Hebe Tien, Yoga Lin, Power Station, and Where Chou,” reported the site. The news follows similar agreements between Tencent Music and Alibaba in 2017, and then between Tencent and NetEase in February this year.

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Chinese firm Xiaomi debuts a new mobile VR headset

Chinese tech firm Xiaomi has been growing its smartphone business, but it’s also following Samsung into the mobile virtual-reality space. The company has just unveiled its second mobile VR headset, the Mi VR.

Designed to use Xiaomi smartphones as its processing guts and screen, it’ll cost RMB 199 (around $30) in China when it goes on sale, with its own motion-controller accessory and a dedicated app store for games and content.