Microsoft and Xiaomi have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work closely on cloud computing, artificial intelligence and hardware. So far, it has not been common for a US company to partner with a Chinese artificial intelligence company, but it definitely makes sense since both countries are the biggest markets for those products and services.
Microsoft plans to allow Xiaomi to use its cloud computing products, including Azure, to develop updated smartphones, laptops and smart devices to take them to an international market. At the same time, the partnership will also give Microsoft more reach and access to the Chinese market.
The two are also discussing the possible integration of Microsoft Cortana with the Mi Mi speaker, a budget speaker with a modern look. So far, Microsoft has only developed a smart Cortana speaker, the Harmon Kardon Invoke, which has struggled to compete with other popular digital assistant speakers from Amazon and Google.
Microsoft and Xiaomi are also in talks about projects that will use different Microsoft Artificial Intelligence technologies, including artificial intelligence and conversation, and services such as Bing, Edge and Skype. Since the two companies have chosen to sign a memorandum, their association is not legally binding and it is not clear if it is financial information.
Microsoft and Xiaomi have links dating back to 2015, when they signed an agreement to test Windows 10 on Xiaomi devices. Last year, Xiaomi was the fifth most popular smartphone company in the world, sending 92.4 million phones, behind the likes of Apple, Samsung and Huawei, according to figures from IDC. Xiaomi says in a press release that it will benefit from "Microsoft's world-leading technologies in cloud computing and artificial intelligence."
More of these associations are beginning to appear among the main conglomerates. Tencent and Samsung announced yesterday that they would jointly invest in AI and games, an association that emerged from the conversations that began at CES last month.