Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

China’s AI start-up Megvii to raise $500 million at $3.5 billion valuation

Chinese artificial intelligence provider Megvii Inc is reportedly seeking to raise $500 million in a new funding round at a valuation of approximately $3.5 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is the developer of facial recognition system Face++, and already counts Alibaba as a backer, which invested $327 million in the Chinese AI start-up. According to a source who requested to remain anonymous, Megvii is talking with Chinese private equity investors and is considering a valuation between $3.5 billion to $4 billion.

The financing, which the company hopes to close in December, would make Megvii able to compete with local rival SenseTime Group Ltd., the source said.

Megvii’s facial recognition technology reportedly oversees a database of more than 1.3 billion faces in China, and it has also been used by the state police to catch criminals.

The firm was founded in 2011 by Yin Qi and his two friends from Tsinghua University’s prestigious pilot computer science program, and aside from Alibaba, it counts key clients like Ant Financial, Lenovo Group and Huawei Technologies, as well as government entities and state-owned firms.

China’s artificial intelligence scene is growing rapidly, with more investment being poured into the sector. In 2017, China’s State Council had announced the goal of making the country the AI world’s leader by 2030, and earlier this year, a CB Insight report revealed China had overtaken the US as the world’s first destination for money invested in Artificial Intelligence.

At the time of writing, both Alibaba and Megvii declined to comment on the investment


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