Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) firm SenseTime raised $600 million in Series C round of funding led by Alibaba Group, setting a record for venture capital funding in the AI sector.
AI stands for artificial intelligence – software technologies that make machines behave and think like humans.
Singaporean investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte and retailer Suning.com Co. also participated.
According to Bloomberg, the latest round of funding raises the valuation of SenseTime to more than $3 billion.
Beijing-based SenseTime focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies. It has become the largest algorithm supplier in China.
SenseTime has over 400 customers and strategic partners, including China Mobile, HNA Group, Wanda Group, Meitu, graphics processor maker Nvidia, China UnionPay, JD Finance, Sina Weibo, China Merchants Bank, and smartphone giants Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Vivo.
Li Xu, SenseTime Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, said, “SenseTime has established an AI ecosystem anchored with robust research, deep industry collaboration, and diverse partnerships. Our Round C funding will maximise these advantages by accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners. The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem.”
Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group, said: “SenseTime is doing pioneering work in artificial intelligence. We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment. Our strategic partnership with SenseTime will spark more innovation and create value for society.”