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AI startup Yitu receives another $100 million in funding
After closing its $200 million Series C+ funding round in June, Shanghai-based facial recognition firm Yitu Technology has secured another $100 million. The investment comes from China Industrial Asset Management, according to a Yitu statement.
The company’s technology has been deployed for use with the country’s ubiquitous surveillance systems. According to Yitu’s website, public security bureaus in Xiamen, Wuhan, Suzhou, and Ningbo make use of their Dragonfly Eye identification system. Additionally, the company provides facial recognition at the country’s borders and in verification systems for the financial sector. It also offers technologies that enable natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence chips.
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The company’s recent funding rounds have been supported predominantly by banks. “It is believed that the financial industry experience of new investors can help Yitu Technology expand in the whole industry faster,” the company said.
In June, the company received $200 million in investment from ICBC International, Gaocheng Venture Capital, and SPDB International. It completed its Gaorong Capital-led Series A in 2015, followed by a YF Capital-led Series B in 2017. It then received RMB 380 million in Series C investment from Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital, and YF Capital, among others in 2017. Earlier this year, it opened its first international office in Singapore.
The Chinese government has set up a roadmap for the domestic development of AI technology. It hopes to catch up to the rest of the world by 2020 and spearhead the technology’s innovation by 2030. The country is home to a number of high profile AI companies including SenseTime, the world’s most valuable company in this space.
In 2017, Chinese startups received 48% of all AI investment worldwide, surpassing the US for the first time. Additionally, over 900 patents relating to facial recognition were filed in the country during the same period.