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You've probably never heard of the world's most popular chatbot


Amazon's Alexa is gaining popularity in the U.S., but if you want to know the most popular chatbot in the world — by far — that would be Xiaoi, an intelligent conversational bot accounting for about 90% of the Chinese market, with some 500 million users, per Topbots' Adelyn Zhou.

Xiaoi, marketed by Shanghai-based Zhizhen, was introduced in 2004. In 2015, Microsoft won a major Chinese court battle against Zhizhen, which challenged patents for Siri, and now the U.S. company markets a rival text bot in China named Xiaoice, which has about 40 million users. But 40 of China's top 50 banks are Xiaoi clients, Zhou writes, and the 16-year-old company handles some 200 million interactions a day, the largest portion of which are from the financial sector.

Why it matters: Zhizhen appears to be exceedingly ahead of any western company in understanding the market for intelligent, natural language chat bots that interact smoothly with humans.