Artificial Intelligence: Chinese AI Behemoth SenseTime May Dual-List

August 17, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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SenseTime, the largest AI company in China is considering an IPO and may list shares in Hong Kong and China.

SenseTime Group Ltd., the Chinese AI giant that deploys facial recognition technology on a massive scale, including for law enforcement, is weighing an IPO, according to Bloomberg. (Yahoo Finance)

Sources told Bloomberg anonymously that the company, which is backed by investors such as SoftBank and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, is raising $1.5 billion of pre-IPO financing at a valuation of nearly $8.5 billion.

IPO on the horizon

The sources said that SenseTime was considering an IPO that would be dual-listed in Hong Kong and China. Initial plans had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company was reconsidering the matter given the recent enthusiasm for new share issues.

In 2018, SenseTime raised $2.5 billion at a massive valuation exceeding $7.5 billion. It quickly achieved the distinction of being the world’s most valuable AI startup.

The company currently works with 127 cities across China for various types of surveillance systems. It also counts as its customers many companies in retail, healthcare, and security industries.

In 2019, SenseTime reported a 147% growth in revenue to 5 billion yuan ($720 million).

However, the sources told Bloomberg that the IPO plans might well change and that nothing has been finalized as yet.

Ant Financial

Another Chinese giant, this one in financial services, is striding towards a massive-sized IPO. Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese company Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA) has made a preparatory filing with China’s securities regulator for its initial share issue, Reuters reported.

Last valued at about $150 billion in its 2018 funding round, Ant Group is looking for an IPO valuation of upwards of $200 billion according to Reuters.

Ant Group is said to be the world’s most valuable unicorn.

Sino-U.S. relations are a cause of concern

Chinese and U.S. relations are currently at a low because of tensions surrounding the virus, trade issues, human rights, Hong Kong, and technology disputes.

These are reasons Chinese companies are perhaps avoiding listing on the U.S. bourses. The advantages of listing at home such as convenience, access to a vast population of domestic investors, and support from the Chinese government, are also additional reasons, according to Fortune.

Related Story:   Ant Group, the Fintech Arm of Alibaba, To Float Hong Kong IPO

Image credit: SenseTime                                                 

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