China

There’s more money pouring into China’s maturing technology and startup ecosystem. According to a Reuters report, Megvii, the Chinese AI upstart more popularly known by its product ‘Face++’, is looking to raise as much as $500Mn in a fresh round, targeting a massive $3.5Bn in valuation.

Face++, a product owned by Megvii provides cognitive intelligence services, primarily involved around facial recognition. It offers products such as Face detection, face comparison, individual searching based on facial detections among others. The company also sells its technology SDKs to developers and private companies.

On the side, it also provides certain — sort of absurd — services like a ‘Beauty Score, ‘Gaze estimation’ and skin test evaluations. Nevertheless, considering the push China’s Communist Government is giving towards facial detection of its citizens and their eventual social scoring, Face++ seems to have hit just the right notes.

Bank of China Group Investment Ltd, China’s state bank’s private equity (PE) arm, is looking to lead this fresh fund-raise with a $200 Million input, two of the people told Reuters. Terms of the fundraising have not been finalised, the people added.

A.I. is a big game in China, and startups have started to play it out well. While Government continues to push the use of A.I. in not just social scoring but healthcare as well, startups continue to build relevant solutions and raising money. Megvii’s rival in China, SenseTime Group Ltd raised $620 million in May at a valuation of over $4.5 billion, after a $600 million round in April led by Alibaba.

Megvii itself has raised ~$328 Billion from Alibaba group, according to data from Reuters. The company is also behind Alibaba-owned Alipay’s ‘Face to Pay’ feature, which lets consumers pay using facial detection.

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