China is planning to develop a universal network for CCTV surveillance and both Chinese and international investors are excited to invest in start-up technology ventures specializing in the unique software for facial recognition.
Companies such as DeepGlint, SenseTime Group and Face++ are putting their money into a multi-billion dollar market counting on the latest technology (facial recognition) which can easily identify people by analyzing the main features of their face, like the cheekbone curve, eye distance and so on.
Advanced surveillance cameras attract investors
The technology utilizes AI or artificial intelligence to identify the individuals need by authorities by finding the right match from its database of pictures. As far as the commercial application of the technology is concerned, it can be of great use in workplaces, homes, ATM machines, restaurants and stores.
IHS Markit reports that in 2016, video surveillance (i.e. video administration software and equipment) was a huge market in Asian countries such as China, almost worth $6.4 billion. There were nearly 176 million cameras already being used by private firms or the authorities.
But the extensive growth in China has led to worry about controlling activists or dissidents by President Xi Jinping’s government, particularly when pooled with the Chinese authorities’ potential to trace phones that are increasingly being utilized to make digital payments.
This hasn’t discouraged investors, including the top venture capitalist firms in the United States like Sequoia Capital (China division). Sequoia is among the leading venture capitalist firms in the Silicon Valley.
Face++ looking to expand operations with funding
The largest facial recognition firm in China, Megvii, popular as Face++ recently made an announcement about $460 million funding raised in its recent round. This included the pulling in of funds from the national venture capitalist fund of China.
With the acquired funding, the company is planning to grow its operations and enter the hardware market by developing a greater number of products with internal AI. This includes advanced surveillance cameras which have the ability to capture faces in a more quick and efficient manner.
Face++ was launched in the year 2011 and does not provide detailed revenue figures. However, the Xie Yinan, the public relations head of the company, said that it was growing at a rate of approximately 400 percent per annum and that the firm is possibly going to break even in 2017. Xi added that Face++ is also looking to target an IPO, but there is no specific time frame for it.