SenseTime receives $600 million funding round led by Alibaba. Do you know Sense Time? It is a Chinese company that specialise in real time surveillance and makes AI-powered surveillance software for the Chinese police.
This week, Sense Times received a new worth $600 million funding round led by Alibaba. This finding gives SenseTime a total valuation of more than $4.5 billion, thus this startup becomes the most valuable AI startup in the world.
This funding round makes it clear that China is much concerned about pouring money in artificial intelligence through government funding and private investment as well.
This investment proves that image analysis is one of the most lucrative commercial applications for Artificial intelligence. The startup became profitable the last year and it does claim to have more than 400 clients and partners.
AI powered services of SenseTime are sold out for improvement of camera apps of smartphone-makers like OPPO and Vivo, in ad bid to offer “beautification” effects and AR filters on Chinese social media platforms like Weibo. The AI of this startup provide identity verification for domestic finance and retail apps like Huanbei & Rong360.
Must Read: SBP Allows Bank of China to Open Yuan Accounts of Local Banks
The most noticeable fact is that the company also outfits Chinese law enforcement with facial recognition and tracking services as well. For instance, the company’s software provided for the security bureau of Guangzhou (one of China’s 3 biggest cities with a metropolitan population of around 25 million) is used to match surveillance footage from crime scenes to images from a criminal database, and has identified more than 2000 suspects and solved nearly 100 cases.
Justin Niu is an early investor in SenseTime alongside being a partner at IDG. He opines that SenseTime and its competitors can grow so faster than elsewhere in the world because of video surveillance, a big deal in China, the govt controls the budget and there is a huge budget for it according to Niu, so, he says that government can manage society.
Bloomberg reports that SenseTime is currently developing software code-named Viper. This software will parse data from thousands of live camera feeds. Viper will be used by the police to track everything from vice and accidents to suspects on blacklists.