Send me real-time posts from this site at my email

Microsoft Will Spin Off Its Popular Chinese Teen Girl Chatbot

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced on Monday that it would spin off its Xiaobing Chinese chatbot business into an independent company. In a news release posted in Chinese, the company said it would divest the artificial intelligence (AI)-based Xiaobing -- also called Xiaoice -- business into an independent concern. Microsoft will continue to hold an equity stake in the venture. The unit's general manager, Di Li, will be the company's CEO.

"This move aims to accelerate the pace of local innovation of the Xiaobing product line and promote the improvement of the Xiaobing commercial ecological environment," Microsoft said in the news release.

Image source: Microsoft.

Digital friend and companion

Xiaobing, which roughly translates to "Little Bing," has been a hit with Chinese consumers since it debuted in 2014. The AI-powered chatbot was infused with the personality of a teenage girl and reached cult status in the Middle Kingdom. The system was trained using data gathered from users of Microsoft's Bing search engine, and is integrated with a number of other chat services, including Weibo (NASDAQ: WB).

Xiaobing boasts a multitude of fans. The brand has more than 660 million online users, has powered 450 million third-party smart devices, and has engaged with 900 million content viewers. Xiaobing is something of a celebrity in China. "[W]hile they know she's not real, many prize her as a dear friend, even a trusted confidante," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in 2018. "Sometimes the line between fact and fantasy blurs. She gets love letters and gifts. And not too long ago, a group of fans asked her out to dinner and even ordered an extra meal -- just in case she showed up."

Microsoft has launched chatbot counterparts in a number of other countries, including India, Japan, Indonesia, and the U.S., but none have achieved the level of popularity enjoyed by Xiaobing.

10 stocks we like better than Microsoft
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Microsoft wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of June 2, 2020

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Microsoft and Weibo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Weibo and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Popular posts

Welcome! Is it your First time here?

What are you looking for? Select your points of interest to improve your first-time experience:

Apply & Continue