WeChat’s Voice Open Platform went live last night that would enable third parties to add speech-based features to their Official WeChat Accounts, or WeChat accounts for businesses or organizations.
The platform was announced half a month ago and now only offers speech recognition SDK for iOS and Android. One developer currently is allowed to register up to ten WeChat-based applications.
Third parties like China’s Merchants Bank and Tencent’s own services, QQ Music and Soso Maps, have integrated speech recognition and speech-to-text capabilities into their WeChat accounts.
WeChat is becoming a platform that Official WeChat Accounts can build sophisticated features for their accounts with APIs — then those accounts will become web apps. Before WeChat opened up a series of APIs one month ago, several selected Official Accounts had built a variety of features for their WeChat accounts for their own needs.
The voice SDKs will be free for mid- and small -sized developers. The previous API package charged 500 yuan annual fee.
WeChat said the Chinese speech recognition technology was developed in house. Baidu, the Chinese search giant, also has been working on it and opened up its own speech recognition technologies in August this year. In China’s speech recognition market, currently the biggest player is iFlytek which has an estimated 70% market share.