The trendy little tower can control Xiomi's other smart home appliances and countless other connected devices, while six built-in microphones should let it hear you clearly from all angles. As expected, it'll also deliver the same updates you'd get from Alexa/Assistant: newsflashes, weather updates etc etc.
Read this: Living with Alexa on the wrist
Xiaomi is rolling out the speaker in August to 1,000 beta testers in hope of further training the voice smarts. Sadly there's no word yet of a launch outside of China (seems unlikely right now), but at just 299 RMB - about $45 - it has reason to have its rivals at least mildly perturbed.
Amazon has the similarly pried Echo Dot, but otherwise you're looking at $180 for a full sized-Echo and $130 for Google's little home helper.
In terms of the smart assistant, the Mi AI is powered by Xiaomi's Android variant, the MIUI operating system. Xiaomi may have borrowed a little too heavily from Echo with the similar blue glowing ring around the top, but hey, imitation, flattery and all that. Amazon will see it the same way, right?