While the North American facial recognition technology market remains the world’s largest, China is developing new technologies at an unmatchable pace. Last year according to CB Insights, Chinese entities filed for 530 camera and video surveillance patents, while U.S. entities filed for only 96.

Megvii is thought to be the first facial recognition “unicorn.” Three Tsinghua graduates founded the company in 2011, and its main investors are said to include a Chinese state fund and Alibaba’s Ant Financial.

Megvii’s open-source software platform, Face++, is considered the world’s largest. And because 300,000 developers use — and train — Megvii’s software, it’s also among the most accurate in the world. The company said that by as early as 2013, their software had already surpassed the recognition accuracy rate of the human eye.

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Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy McDonald is a Beijing-based multimedia journalist who covers technology's effect on Chinese society. She tweets at @CMcD123.