China Mobile Ltd., the world’s biggest phone company by users, agreed to buy a 1.36 billion yuan ($214 million) stake in Anhui USTC iFlytek Co., a maker of voice-recognition software similar to Apple Inc.’s Siri system.
The phone carrier will subscribe to 70.3 million Anhui USTC shares, or a 15 percent stake, at 19.40 yuan apiece, Beijing-based China Mobile said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Anhui USTC rose by the 10 percent daily limit to 26.61 yuan at the close in Shenzhen after trading in the stock resumed.
China Mobile will collaborate with Anhui USTC on Mandarin voice technology after the transaction is completed, according to the filing. China Mobile is boosting spending on networks and increasing handset subsidies to attract smartphone users to lift profit growth as competition intensifies.
IFlytek was founded in 1999 based on research conducted in the National Intelligent Computer Research and Development Center and the Human-Machine Speech Communication Laboratory of the University of Science and Technology of China, the company said on its website. The Hefei, Anhui province-based company describes itself as a provider of Chinese speech and language technology.