Artificial Intelligence: SenseTime’s Proposed IPO Could Be The World’s Largest In AI
The Chinese AI giant has filed in Hong Kong for a $12 billion IPO.
Chinese AI company SenseTime on Friday submitted an application to the Hong Kong Exchange for an IPO that could value it at a massive $12 billion. The company, whose product lineup includes facial recognition and autonomous driving, clocked revenue of 1.6 billion yuan ($247.2 million) in the first half of 2021 but incurred a net loss of 3.7 billion yuan. However, it did not disappoint on growth because turnover surged 91.8% year on year. (The Manila Times)
SenseTime has large-sized AI peers in China, including Megvii, CloudWalk, and YITU. Together, the companies are known as the “Four AI Tigers” of China – and all have commenced work on an IPO. Considering that Chinese authorities are tightening regulation of the country’s tech industry, SenseTime appears undeterred, even though Cloud Village, China’s second-largest music streaming service, recently pulled its $1bn IPO in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, China enacted a Personal Information Protection Law to regulate businesses’ collection, storage, and use of personal data, and their handling of key data concerning national security.
SenseTime has been put by the USA on a blacklist for its alleged involvement in human rights violations against and high-technology surveillance of minority Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang region.
Reflecting this the company revealed in its IPO filing that “if our subsidiary remains on the Entity List on a prolonged basis, we may not be able to compete effectively in certain business lines, and our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.”
Nevertheless, the company is backed by top-drawer investors including SoftBank, Alibaba, Tiger Global, and Silver Lake. Last year, it raised funds at a valuation of $8 billion. According to the FT, which quoted informed sources, its current valuation hovers at $12 billion.
Related Story: China Testing AI-Powered Emotion Detection on Uighurs (BBC)
Image Credit: SenseTime Twitter
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