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SenseTime analyses financing up to USD 2bn: report
Posted on Friday, 11 January 2019 13:22
Beijing SenseTime Technology Development is hoping to raise a total USD 2.00 billion this year, Bloomberg reported, a day before the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm unicorn unveiled its own self-driving facility in Japan.

Sources close to the discussions told the news provider the Chinese facial, image, text recognition and video analysis startup is working with advisors for fresh financing but cautioned talks are in the early stage and may change.

The company closed a series C+ funding round in May last year with a valuation of USD 4.50 billion, which was followed by an additional equity injection by Softbank’s SB China Venture Capital in September.

SenseTime is one of five national AI platforms in China (alongside Baidu, Alibaba Cloud, Tencent and iFLYTEK), and claims the financing has made it the world’s valuable computer vision and deep learning unicorn.

The company says it “leads the market in almost all vertical industries”, including smart city, smartphone, mobile Internet, online entertainment, automobile, finance and retail, among other things.

According to its website, it has over 700 customers and partners in China and overseas, which range from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Qualcomm to Wanda and Huawei.

With regards to self-driving, SenseTime entered into a cooperation agreement with Honda in 2017 to jointly develop L4 technology with a view to helping the Japanese partner mass-produce, fully-functional autonomous cars in 2025.

On the flip side, the AI developer has also started down the path of corporate venturing; just last week it took part in a series A round held by autonomous driving technology developer Guangzhou Wenyuan Zhixing Technology.

The company has also injected equity into the likes of Moviebook, a Beijing interactive video recognition platform, and Helian Health, the supplier of WiFi and cloud-based apps to hospitals.

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