Other - MAY 9, 2019

Chinese AI startup raises $750m, Chinese AI to surpass U.S.

by Andrea Zander

Megvii, a Chinese facial recognition company, has raised $750m in its latest investment round.

It is the country’s second-largest private fundraiser this year, reported The Financial Times.

The newly raised funds will be used to attract new talent and expand overseas. Reuters reported the company is now valued at around $4 billion. And Bloomberg reported in January that Megvii has plans to raise $1 billion through an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The firm has hired Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to work on its Hong Kong IPO.

Megvii’s new funding was from Bank of China Group Investment, ICBC asset management and a wholly-owned subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, as well as the Australian investment bank Macquarie.

China is home to the most AI start-ups valued at $1 billion or above, according to CB Insights, a research firm that tracks venture capital activity. Chinese AI startups accounted for 48 percent of all AI fundings in 2017, surpassing those in the United States for the first time, shows data collected by CB Insights. An analysis released in March by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence found that China is rapidly closing in on the U.S. by the amount of AI research papers published. In addition, investments in the AI sector surged to $2.1 billion through 88 deals last year, more than four times the total value in the previous two years, according to data from Refinitiv.

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