Chinese AI facial recognition startup SenseTime is going public in a $2 billion IPO on Hong Kong stock exchange
SenseTime, the AI facial recognition startup that is used by the Chinese government to surveil its citizens, is planning for an up to $2 billion initial public offerings (IPO) in Hong Kong stock exchange as soon as the end of this month, according to a report from Reuters, citing three people with direct knowledge of the deal.
SenseTime has hired Chinese investment banks CICC and Haitong International, as well as HSBC, to work on the float, Reuters added. Just last year, SenseTime was considering an IPO on China’s tech-focused STAR market in Shanghai after raising $1.5 billion in a private funding round that valued the company at $10 billion.
We’ve covered SenseTime extensively in the last three years. In October 2019, the United States put SenseTime on a trade blacklist. In 2018, SenseTime raised $600 million to become the most valuable AI startup in the world.
SenseTime is the developer of Face++, the technology used by the Chinese government to monitor and track its over one billion citizens. Face++ is also used by more than 300,000 developers in 150 countries to identify faces, as well as images, text, and various kinds of government-issued IDs.
SenseTime is China’s largest artificial intelligence (AI) unicorn focused on computer vision and deep learning technologies. The company is behind a proprietary deep learning platform, SenseTime has become the largest algorithm supplier in the country.
Founded in 2014 by Li Xu, Bing Xu, and Xiaogang Wang, SenseTime develops face recognition technology that can be applied to payment and picture analysis, which could be used, for instance, on bank card verification and security systems.
SenseTime currently provides its face recognition technology to over 300 companies including China Mobile Communication Co, China UnionPay, Huawei Technologies Co., Xiaomi, and JD.com. The company claims that its face recognition technology has an error rate below one in 100,000. SenseTime also provides text, vehicle, and image recognition to mobile Internet companies, financial services, and security companies.
Since its inception seven years ago, SenseTimehas raised a total of $2.6 billion in funding over 9 rounds. Its latest funding was raised on December 1, 2020, from a Series D round.