Chinese AI Startup raises $600 Million in Funding led by Alibaba

SenseTime Group Ltd. raised $600 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and other investors, making the company the most valuable artificial intelligence startup, at a valuation of over $3 billion.

The company specializes in technology that analyzes facial recognition and images on a large scale. The technology can be used for applications such as bank card verification and telecommunications.

SenseTime raised $600 million in its Series C round of funding, but the company has also raised $410 million in its series B round last July, setting a new record for venture capital funding in the AI sector. Other investors for the Series C round include Temasek Holdings Private Limited and Co Ltd.

SenseTime is partner with 400 companies which vary from many industries such as security, fintech, retail, smartphones, mobile internet and robotics. The company has partnerships with major companies like Honda to develop autonomous driving and Qualcomm to develop smart technology, who has backed SenseTime.

SenseTime’s partnerships does not only include companies, but education institutions as well. The company partnered with Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an Intelligence Quest project as the two will develop an AI alliance to define the future of human and machine intelligence.

The company will use its approximated $1 billion funding to expand its AI platform, advance technological innovation and open up new business opportunities.

”SenseTime has established an AI ecosystem anchored with robust research, deep industry collaboration, and diverse partnerships. Our Round C funding will maximise these advantages by accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners. The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem.” said Li Xu, SenseTime Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.

With the recent funding round, it boosted SenseTime’s valuation by more than doubled, helping the company move closer to establish itself as one of the world leader’s in AI technology.

The company is moving closer to its achievement, as it already has contracts with cities in China. SenseTime secured a contract with the municipal government of Shanghai in 2017 to leverage its AI technology to develop a smart city that include smart traffic, autonomous driving and smart finance.

China’s government secured the contract with SenseTime to establish itself as an AI dominating country by 2030, making the country one of the biggest contributors to the sector.

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