China’s AI Startup SenseTime Raises $600 Million From Alibaba Group

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SenseTime, China’s leading and world’s most valued artificial intelligence company has successfully raised $600 million in its series C round of funding, as per media reports.


 


While Alibaba Group is taking the lead role in this round of funding, the other participants include Temasek and Suning.

Breaking its older record of raising $410 million in its series B round of funding last July, it once again sets a new record for venture capital funding in the AI sector.

Bloomberg reported that the round valued SenseTime at over $3 billion.


How will the funding help?

The fundraising would help in building the company’s AI platform, advancing the company’s technological innovation and opening up new business opportunities.

Li Xu, SenseTime cofounder, and the chief executive officer said,

“SenseTime has established an AI ecosystem anchored with robust research, deep industry collaboration, and diverse partnerships. Our Round C funding will maximise these advantages by accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners. The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem.”

Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, said,

“SenseTime is doing pioneering work in artificial intelligence. We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment. Our strategic partnership with SenseTime will spark more innovation and create value for society.”


About the startup

Founded in 2014, SenseTime’s high-performance deep learning supercomputing platform is one of China’s largest, boasting over 8,000 GPUs.

It is able to support building models with hundreds of billions of parameters, categorizing hundreds of millions of data and training billions of images.

The startup leads the industry in a range of fields such as autonomous driving, medical imaging, and deep learning hardware optimization.

In 2017, SenseTime announced a series of significant strategic partnerships in China and abroad. With Qualcomm, it initiated an “algorithm + chip” collaboration increasing the intelligence of smartphones and other devices. The startup’s partnership with Honda had resulted in many industry-leading autonomous driving technologies. Working with Suning, the largest consumer electronics retailer in China, it has helped develop the Store of the Future, which leverages facial recognition for check-out free shopping as well as customer big data analysis. In February 2018, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that SenseTime was the first company to join its Intelligence Quest project and the two parties created an AI alliance to define the next frontier of human and machine intelligence.

In March 2018, the Company formed strategic partnerships with several large Chinese state-owned enterprises based in Shanghai such as the INESA Group and Lingang Group. These developments followed from a strategic agreement that it signed with the municipal government of Shanghai in 2017. SenseTime is to use its AI technologies to help the city on multiple initiatives including smart city, smart traffic, autonomous driving, and smart finance as a part of this agreement.


SenseTime has established partnerships with more than 400 leading domestic and overseas enterprises across security, fintech, automobile, retail, smartphone, mobile Internet, and robotics. By broadening the possibilities of data technology and its application across industries, the Company has shown the prospects of a technological leap for a range of verticals. SenseTime can serve as their close partner in AI transformation.


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