Qualcomm invests undisclosed amount in Chinese AI startup SenseTime

Companies across the global are pushing the advance of AI-based deep learning for facial recognition technology. The multi-billion dollar industry is seeing rapid adoption by China as it tries to enforce a rigid framework on its citizens much like its firewall which limits its citizens’ usage of the internet.

On Wednesday, the SenseTime Group, a Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) startup, disclosed it has sealed an investment from Qualcomm Inc, as part of a funding round that will close later this year.

Last month, the duo had announced a strategic collaboration on artificial intelligence which will see SenseTime’s proprietary algorithms deployed in smart devices.

Qualcomm has confirmed the investment in SenseTime it however did not disclose its quantum.

In November, Reuters had reported, SenseTime plans on raising nearly $500 million in a new funding round, and has the potential to be the biggest ever fundraiser by an AI startup; it has the potential to value SenseTime at $2 billion.

The fundraiser has drawn interest from prospective investors, including Singapore state investor Temasek.

SenseTime is one of several AI facial recognition Chinese firms who are attracting big investments from local and foreign investors midst a multi-billion dollar global drive to develop advanced deep learning based facial recognition technology.

SenseTime is developing AI based technologies to rapidly analyze, identify and track human faces using cameras. Its technology has been used by Chinese authorities to track and capture suspects in public spaces such as festivals, train stations and airports.

Qualcomm had stated it has signed deals worth $12 billion with three Chinese mobile smartphone makers on the sidelines of a state visit to Beijing by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The U.S. chipmaker is facing a $103 billion takeover bid from rival Broadcom Ltd which it has rejected this Monday.


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