Biz / Tech

Sensetime successfully raises US$600 million in the largest amount of funding raised in the AI sector so far

Funding will help the firm widen the scope for more industrial applications of AI and increase value of SenseTime's global ecosystem.

Artificial Intelligence is widely used in vending machines and cloud computing. China aims to grow its core AI industries to over 150 billion yuan (US$24 billion) by 2020 and 400 billion yuan by 2025.

SenseTime, one of China’s leading artificial intelligence company, said it has successfully raised US$600 million in its Series C round of funding led by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Suning and Singapore's Temasek in the largest funding raised by an AI startup so far.

The funds will build SenseTime’s AI platform to advance the company's technological innovation and also help open up new business opportunities.

"Our latest funding will maximize our advantages, including robust research, deep industry collaboration, and diverse partnerships, while accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners," Xu Li, SenseTime co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial applications of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem.”

In July, SenseTime set a new record for venture capital funding in the AI sector when it raised US$410 million in funding.

"Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment and our strategic partnership with SenseTime will spark more innovation and create value for society,” Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, said. 

SenseTime earlier said it would invest 6 billion yuan (US$938 million) in Shanghai. It has also signed cooperation deals with state-owned giants Shanghai Lingang Group and Shanghai Inesa to develop AI. SenseTime will set up a headquarters for global research, intelligent car, smart chip and smart education in Shanghai.

China aims to grow the value of its core AI industries to over 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) by 2020 and 400 billion yuan by 2025.

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