According to Reuters, leading Chinese AI unicorn Megvii Technology (also known as Face++) has begun raising a new round of funding with a target of US$500 million. This would will bring the company’s value to an estimated US$3.5 billion.
Bank of China Group Investment Ltd is said to be leading the funding round with US$200 million. The Reuters report suggests the new funding will be used to build a closed-circuit television (CCTV) network.
AI’s computer vision (CV) sector has drawn much attention recently, and has seen an enormous influx of investment capital. Earlier this year, Megvii’s biggest competitor SenseTime closed its Series C funding with an estimated valuation of US$4.5 billion. Yitu Technology and CloudWalk are the other two Megvii rivals; the companies are collectively referred to as the “Four CV Dragons” in China.
Megvii was founded in 2011 by Qi Yin, Wenbin Tang, and Mu Yang, all from the country’s respected Tsinghua University. The company focuses on face detection, recognition, and analysis across different platforms. It received a US$327 million investment from Alibaba earlier this year; and raised US$460 million in funding last year from Ant Financial, China State-Owned Assets Venture Investment Fund, and Foxconn Technology Group.
Worldwide AI-related funding rounds attracted US$43.5 billion over the first half of 2018, with Chinese companies receiving about three-quarters (US$31.7 million) of the total, according to the China News Service (Ecns.cn).
Author: Mos Zhang | Editor: Michael Sarazen