Vision plays a central role in human cognition. While we use eyes to see things and the brain to interpret and coordinate, it is difficult for computers or robots to duplicate the way human perceive and visually sense the world around them.

Computer vision is the science that aims to give a similar capability to a machine. As the supporting technologies surround this multi-disciplinary field moves forward, computer vision is making great leaps to transform a variety of industries from face recognition and healthcare to security, agriculture, and more.

The rising market has given rise to a gold rush of startups all trying to capitalize on the trend. Here are some of the most prominent players coming from China.



Formed in 2012 by Tsinghua University alumni, Megvii is a Beijing-based startup focused on computer vision and artificial intelligence. Its core product Face++ is a cloud-based face recognition technology platform that helps developers and companies to embed advanced face detection, analysis and recognition, and large-scale search techs in their apps and websites. It provides face-related API and offline software development kits as well as customized cloud services to both developers and enterprises.

As one of the earliest entrants to the sector, the company’s face recognition has been widely applied in various industries. Through a partnership with Ant Financial, Face++ has been integrated into Alipay to support facial scan logging in and Smile to Pay, a payment method that allows users to make a purchase by scanning their faces. Its Face++ API has been used by over 50,000 developers include Alipay, Meitu, Lenovo, Didi and Jiayuan.

The company reportedly finished a US$ 100 million fundraising in December last year from investors including CCB International Holdings and Foxconn.



DeepGlint is a computer vision startup providing 3D image analysis and deep learning technologies. With the goal of creating a search engine for the physical world, DeepGlint helps computers capture what is happening in real time, and understand the physical world as humans do. Its clients include banks, government, museums,

As one of the leading players in China’s computer vision sector, the company has recorded a major management reshuffle recently. Co-founder and CEO He Bofei resigned in January this year. Zhao Yong, former CTO of the company, is reported to be named as CEO.


Company CEO Xu Li

Founded in 2014, SenseTime focuses on face recognition technology that can be applied to payment and picture analysis, for bank card verification and security systems. In addition, SenseTime is also developing security technology focused on text and characters, body shapes and vehicles.

Its customers include companies like China Mobile, HNA Group, Huawei, Xiaomi, Sina and

Yitu Technology

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Yitu Technology operates a cloud-based visual recognition engine that enables computers to detect and recognize faces and cars. The system was first applied to security surveillance to help authorities identify persons of interest in criminal investigations and to track traffic violations.

With surveillance and crowd-tracking as the primary focus, the company’s clients include some state authorities like China Customs, China Immigration Inspection as well as cooperate clients like Wanda Group, Huawei and AliCloud.

Leo Zhu, who gained a post-doctoral fellowship on computer vision at MIT, founded the company with high school friend Chenxi Lin, a former cloud computing technology director at Alibaba.



Founded in 2014, TUPU Technology Co., Ltd provides image recognition services with AI algorithms and computer vision technology.

The company is primarily engaged in NSFW/NSFL content filtering, ads recognition, live streaming monitoring and other tailor-made services.

Leonard Li, the CEO of TUPU, was the founding team member of WeChat and the technical director of QQ Mail. In September 2016, TUPU received ten million dollars in Series A Funding Round.

This post is updated at 15:00 March 10th to add more details about Tupu.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.