Artificial Intelligence: Chinese AI Company And IPO-Hopeful SenseTime To Land Up On US Blacklist

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The US action will unfortunately time with the day the AI giant prices its Hong Kong IPO.

In protest against human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the US is likely to place SenseTime, the Chinese AI company, on an investment blacklist, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

Washington will take the action against SenseTime on Friday, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, and alongside similar steps against a host of other countries, sources familiar with the matter told the FT.

SenseTime had planned to sell 1.5 billion shares within a price range of HK$3.85 to HK$3.99 each in the IPO. It was scheduled to set the final price and allocate shares to institutional investors on Friday.

SenseTime on investment blacklist

The US Treasury will include SenseTime on a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies” that are prohibited for investment by Americans following an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in June.

As a result, US-based investors would be unable to participate in the company’s IPO.

The US and other nations including the UK, Australia, and Canada are concerned regarding the repression of more than one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities who have been subjected to detention and forced labour in camps in the China’s Xinjiang region.

Reuters reported today that SenseTime and its advisors held urgent talks with the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Thursday and early on Friday on how the ban would impact the IPO, which was to begin trading on December 17.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to ban the import of goods from Xinjiang unless it was proved that they were not manufactured by forced labour.

Related Story: AI and Human Rights at Crossroads; MIT Dumps iFlytek

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