Baidu announced Tuesday the appointment of Jing Kun, general manager of Baidu’s Smart Living Group (SLG), to vice president as it shores up efforts to monetize AI amid a sharp dropoff in revenue growth from its core online advertising business.

A former Microsoft R&D director responsible for creating Xiaoice, the company’s beloved Chinese social chatbot, Jing joined Baidu in 2014 as chief architect for search engine products. He has been leading the business and technology development for the voice assistant platform DuerOS, Baidu’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa, since late 2016.

According to Baidu’s first-quarter earnings release, more than 275 million devices are equipped with its voice assistant. Voice queries reached 2.37 billion in March.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen