Alibaba-Backed Funding Makes Biometric Surveillance Specialist the World’s Most Valuable AI Firm

A China-based firm specializing in facial recognition technology says it is now the world’s most valuable AI company.Alibaba-Backed Funding Makes Biometric Surveillance Specialist the World's Most Valuable AI Firm

SenseTime’s claim comes after a series-C funding round that brought in $600 million, with the round having been led by e-commerce giant Alibaba. The company is reportedly now worth about $4.5 billion, though it has not publicly disclosed its valuation.

Among SenseTime’s partners and clients are Nvidia, Xiaomi, and Qualcomm, which is also a major investor in the firm; as well as a number of Chinese police agencies. Its AI technology has been used in both consumer devices and China’s growing apparatus of state surveillance technology, in which facial recognition has played a rapidly expanding role.

As Bloomberg reports, some of the new funding will be used to build SenseTime’s new Viper platform, designed to apply analytic software to thousands of live video feeds. The platform will require an array of supercomputers for its operation, with Alibaba expected to lend a hand with its cloud services.

Some of the funding will also be used to propel concurrent efforts in the areas of augmented reality and autonomous driving technologies, emerging areas in which machine vision technology is also expected to play a growing role.

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters

April 9, 2018 – by Alex Perala