Briefing: Chinese AI upstart Megvii reportedly seeking $500 million in funding

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China’s AI start-up Megvii raising $500 million at $3.5 billion valuation: sources – Reuters 

What happened: Chinese AI startup Megvii, the developer of facial recognition system Face++, is reportedly seeking to raise $500 million in a new funding round at a valuation of $3.5 billion. Bank of China is said to lead the fundraising with a $200 million injection. The terms of the fundraising have not been finalized.

Why it’s important: As China continues to bolster its artificial intelligence capabilities, more investment is being poured into the sector. Earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $327 million in the Chinese AI startup, whose facial recognition technology now powers Alipay’s “scan your face to pay” function. Megvii’s facial recognition technology, which reportedly oversees a database of more than 1.3 billion faces in China, has also been used by the state police to catch criminals.