China Mobile to buy 15 percent stake in Siri-like tech maker

The Chinese telco has announced a US$200 million deal to acquire a minority stake in speech recognition software company iFlyTek.

China Mobile has purchased a 15 percent stake in iFlyTek, a company that specializes in speech recognition technology, in a deal worth over 1.36 billion yuan (US$200 milllion). The two will collaborate to develop Mandarin voice recognition technology.

In a statement Thursday, the telco announced that it would pay for the transaction with around 70 million shares valued at 19.40 yuan apiece. 

Before its trading halt, the company's stock last changed hands at 21.49 yuan on the Shenzhen stock exchange on Aug.9, according to Bloomberg data.

As part of the deal, China Mobile added that it will designate a person to be a non-independent director on iFlytek.

According to a report Friday, news site TechinAsia noted that iFlyTek's voice-recognition technology powers the Siri-like voice assistant found in the new M2 handset launched by local phonemaker Xiaomi, which may pave the way for similar plans.