China’s biggest social and gaming company and the world’s number one smartphone maker will join forces to make AI devices, according to a report by BusinessKorea.

The report says Tencent and Samsung decided in early 2018 to jointly invest in AI speakers and game solutions, and also to set up a joint venture.

Tencent declined our request to comment and Samsung has yet to provide a comment. But such an alliance would make a lot of sense.

Tencent released its own smart speaker Tingting in April this year, making a late entrance into China’s crowded smart speaker scene. Tingting received some praise for its sound quality and the ability to send WeChat messages through voice command, but users and media reviews have both pointed out that its AI assistant is not very smart.

Tencent’s Tingting speaker is priced at 699 yuan (US02), more expensive than those made by its domestic rivals. (Picture: Tencent)

But voice assistants is something Samsung has experience in. Samsung has its own voice assitant, Bixby, built by some of the team that originally made Siri. But the South Korean tech giant needs help in China, where it’s lost ground to all the domestic smartphone makers -- its smartphone market share in the country plunged from 20% in 2013 to just 2% last year.

The report also says that the two companies will expand to countries beyond just China and South Korea.