Briefing: Chinese AI unicorn Megvii bets $300 million on smart logistics

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AI Unicorn Wades Into Smart Logistics With 2 Billion Yuan ‘River Map’ – Caixin Global

What happened: Chinese AI unicorn Megvii Technology is planning to invest RMB 2 billion (around $300 million) to develop supply chain systems enabled by big data. Through its new program dubbed “Hetu,” or “River Map” in English, the company plans to apply AI technology in a new area of smart logistics.

Why it’s important: Primarily known as a facial recognition service company, the Alibaba-backed firm is one of the most valuable AI upstarts in China’s tech industry. The company is reportedly seeking $500 million funding at a $3.5 billion valuation. Shifting focus to the smart logistics sector may help the company to differentiate from domestic peers like Sensetime, the most valuable AI company in the world, and Yitu. To prepare for its entry, Megvii fully acquired Aers Robot in April 2018. China’s supply chain market was worth an estimated RMB 280 trillion in 2018, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Science.