Taobao’s Mobile Shopping App Is Getting Voice-Recognition Technology

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Taobao’s Mobile Shopping App Is Getting Voice-Recognition Technology

Already in use by more than 320 million consumers and a key vehicle in Alibaba Group√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s effort to popularize m-commerce in China, Taobao’s mobile app is set for a major upgrade this week.

Taobao’s Mobile Shopping App, a key vehicle in Alibaba Group’s effort to popularize m-commerce in China, is set for a major upgrade that includes the addition of speech-activated product searches.

Taobao officials revealed today that among other improvements the app will be capable of adapting to 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi networks to optimize data-transmission rates andboost thebattery life of users’ smartphones and other mobile devices.

In addition, the updated app will allow users to receive automated product recommendations based on their purchasing history; an alarm tool to alert shoppers to sales; a reorganized shopping cart; and a new location-based service that when activated can show what other app users in the vicinity have been purchasing on Taobao.

Owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Taobaois the PRC’s largest online shopping website.

Perhaps the most notable development for the app, currently used by more than 320 million shoppers, is the addition of advanced voice recognition to make product searches a little easier. Company officialssay the technology beingadopted has a successful recognition rate of greater than 93 percent, compared with an average rate of less than 85 percent in similar apps. There’s also a noise-control technology that cuts down on mistakes due to background noise in public places such as restaurants and train stations.

An Android version of the Taobao Mobile Shopping App is slated to be available this week, with an iOS version coming before the end of the year.

According to a Taobao mobile shopping report issued in March, about 7 percent of all Taobao transactions were made through mobile devices last year.

But with millions of new consumers going online every year in China not via their PCs but through smartphones,the number of mobile shoppersare rising sharply and fast growth is expected to continue. About 21 percent of people who made purchases during Taobao’s recent 11.11 Shopping Festival did so with their mobile devices. Mobile GMV soared during the Nov. 11 festival to RMB 5.35 billion, more than five times the volume during last year’s 24-hour event.

The total number of Chinese mobile phone users in China hit 1.22 billion at the end of October, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Among them, 67.19 percent or 817 million mobile users are connected to the Internet and 34.5 percent subscribe to 3G networks.

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