Huawei said to be building its own voice assistant

Last year, Huawei leapfrogged a couple of fellow Chinese hardware companies to secure its spot as the third-largest smartphone maker worldwide. As the company takes aim at the No. 2 spot, it’s apparently working to differentiate itself even more from the competition by developing more proprietary tech, adding to a list of components that already includes its own in-house chips.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, a smart assistant is the next step. The company is said to be hard at work on a Siri/Alexa/Google Assistant competitor, employing a team of more than 100 people tasked with its creation in Shenzhen.

If true, the company would join Samsung in a growing list of Android handset makers opting not to go with Google’s assistant — though the Galaxy maker sped up the process a bit with its recent acquisition of Viv Labs.

This wouldn’t be Huawei’s sole artificial intelligence investment, either. In October, the company announced plans to fund a research partnership with UC Berkeley as a $1 million “strategic partnership into basic research” of deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision.

Last month, the company announced that it was embracing Alexa with its U.S. version of the Mate 9 handset, in a strategy that appears to be anything but Google Assistant, in spite of its Android allegiances.

Chief executive Richard Yu has touched on the company’s AI goals in the past. “We want to bring to the consumer the best services. In the China market we have our own — we have no intention to do this [in the US] in the short term.”