Siri is facing some serious issues in China. Nineteen companies created SIAC, the Speech Industry Alliance of China that aims to leave apart Apple’s voice assistant and to offer a Siri alternative supporting Mandarin and Cantonese, too.
Apple announced, though, that iOS 6 will include a Siri version that understands Mandarin and Cantonese, but iOS 6 Beta does not integrate such Siri version, yet. Anyway, if Siri will be able of talking in both languages, this will function as a threat for SIAC.
The alliance consists of phone manufacturers, mobile phone carriers and the speech recognition software developer iFlytek, of which text-to-speech software is already popular in the business domain. Among the companies mad at Siri we can count Lenovo, Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Mobile manufacturers already started the integration of iFlytek’s technology. Moreover, Google Play includes iFlytek’s highly rated app, Voice Input. SIAC considers that a good start will be to pre-install this app on Android devices.
Still, SIAC is not the first to stand against Apple. The Cupertino Company already has a bad patent-infringement reputation in China. The best example here is Apple’s lawsuit with Zhizhen, a company affirming that their voice assistant Xiaoi Bot, came long before Siri.