Seven Chinese startups made it onto CB Insights’ AI 100 list this year, up from four in 2016. The venture capital database says it has selected from over 2,000 private companies in the AI field based on several criteria, which are: investor profile, tech innovation, team strength, patent activity, mosaic score, funding history, valuation, and business model.
Though the number of Chinese AI startups on the list pales in comparison to that of the US ones—which take up 76% of the slots—CB Insights makes note of China’s “buzzing” AI startup scene: Five of the seven startups from China have achieved unicorn status, with four of them surpassing $1 billion in valuation just this year. Beijing-based ByteDance, more famously known for its personalized news aggregator app Toutiao, took the crown as the most well-funded AI startup of the year with $3.1 billion in investments so far.
The remaining Chinese startups on the list include three other Beijing-based ones: Face++, best known for its face recognition technology, its close rival SenseTime, as well as Mobvoi, the developer behind the Siri-like mobile voice search service Chumen Wenwen. Two companies hail from Shenzhen: UBTECH, maker of humanoid robots and Cambricon, an AI chip maker with backings from the prstigious Chinese Academy of Sciences. Shanghai claims one on the list: Liulishuo, an English learning startup with AI-enabled teachers.
Ubtech and Chumen Wenwen are two-time AI 100 listers. Two 2016 candidates lost out on the list this year: Shenzhen’s iCarbonX, a biotech company started by the co-founder of China’s genomics giant BGI, and Hangzhou’s robotics startup Rokid.