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

China-backed Face Recognition Startup Megvii Raises £350M



China is really keen on Megvii’s face recognition technology

Chinese face-recognition technology company Megvii has raised £350 million from a group of investors, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and state-backed Chinese funds, Bloomberg reports.

Existing investor Foxconn Technology Group—a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that counts Apple among its customers—also partook in the round.

The company had already secured backing from the Russia-China Investment fund, a venture capital firm supported by the governments of both countries.

Now, this new round of funding puts the company’s value at around $1 billion (£760 million.)

Megvii —also known as Face++ — has developed face-recognition tech used by companies such as electronic manufacturer Lenovo and Alibaba’s fintech subsidiary Ant Financial.

Apart from being instrumental for innovating the payment and banking industries— as shown by the success of UK startup Onfido — face recognition is also being eyed with increasing interest by China’s government, keen  on the technology’s potential for preventing crimes and other illicit activities.

Megvii’s algorithm was,  in fact, trained by tapping into a facial-scan database held by China’s Ministry of Public Security.

Neither Ant Financial nor Megvii answered Bloomberg’s requests for comment.

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