Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime to raise $740 million in its revised Hong Kong IPO
Early this month, we wrote about SenseTime after the Chinese AI facial recognition startup finally announced the highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO). After several false starts, SenseTime Group said it was looking to raise up to $767 million in its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO).
Now, SenseTime Group plans to price its shares at $0.4936 (HK$3.85) each to raise $740 million in its revised Hong Kong, according to an exclusive report from Reuters, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the deal. Reuters said the sources could not be named as the information has not been made public.
As part of the IPO deal, SenseTime has already sold 1.5 billion shares, its second attempt to list in Hong Kong in a matter of weeks. It had flagged a HK$3.85 to $HK3.99 per share price range when the deal was relaunched on Monday, Reuters reported. SenseTime stocks are due to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on December 30.
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.
SenseTime increased the value of its primary investors from $450 million to about $511 million in a bid to have the IPO carried out successfully. SenseTime’s nine primary investors include China’s state-owned Mixed Ownership Reform Fund, which committed the largest portion of $200 million, Shanghai government-backed Xuhui Capital and Shanghai Guosheng Group, state-owned carmaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, and Hong Kong government fund HKSTP Venture Fund.