China’s latest AI leap

By Teamspirit on Tuesday, 10 April 2018

In the two horse race between China and the US to dominate the AI field, China has moved ahead following the announcement that SenseTime, a four-year-old AI company based in Hong Kong, has just raised $600 million in Series C funding.

This new round of funding has resulted in the value of the company growing from $1.5 billion (after its Series B funding round last year) to $4.5 billion today.

Alibaba, the e-commerce giant is now SenseTime’s largest backer according to reports. But investment has come from a variety of international sources, including from Qualcomm, the US chipmaker, the Temasek fund in Singapore, and Suning, China’s largest electronics retailer.

SenseTime’s clients are equally diverse, ranging across fintech, automotive, and smartphones, and including the likes of Honda, Huawei, Xiamoi, UnionPay and Weibo.

However, SenseTime’s most important partner might be the Chinese government, which uses SenseTime’s technology to manage its national surveillance network of over 170 million CCTV cameras and associated systems.

The Chinese government is keen to make the country the undisputed leader in AI by 2030, by which time it’s predicted the industry will be worth upwards of $150 billion per year.

We are already seeing AI being integrated into financial services at both investment and wealth management and retail customer service levels. With globally significant milestones like SenseTime’s latest funding round happening more and more frequently, we think the pace of competition and growth is only likely to speed up over the next few years.

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