BMW is claiming to be the first premium carmaker to add Alibaba’s Tmall Genie voice assistant technology to certain models destined for the Chinese market.

The two companies made the announcement at CES 2019, currently being held in Las Vegas, adding that the technology will be available by the end of 2019. 

China-based Alibaba is one of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies and like its US rival Amazon, it has expanded into AI-controlled products and services. Tmall Genie follows the same model as Amazon Echo and will enable Chinese BMW drivers to choose shopping and entertainment options while on the move.

BMW has already integrated its Connected platform into Alibaba’s Chinese ecosystem, which allows BMW customers who have a Tmall Genie device at home to operate vehicle functions easily and conveniently, and to call up appointments saved in the BMW Connected mobility agenda, said the company.

“With the integration of Alibaba’s Tmall Genie in BMW vehicles in China we are adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up new possibilities that customers can access quickly and safely from the car,” said Dieter May Senior Vice President Digital Services and Products at the BMW Group, “This development sees BMW reaching a new milestone in China in terms of intelligent connectivity.”