Briefing: iFlytek raising $350 million to invest in startups fearing US ban

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China’s iFlytek raising up to $350m to invest in AI – The Financial Times

What happened: Chinese voice recognition leader iFlytek, which has a market value of RMB 62 billion ($9 billion), is seeking to raise a $300 million to $350 million fund worldwide to invest in AI startups. US investors are not expected to participate considering worsening US-China relations, particularly concerning technology, said Luo Yi, the founder of ShangCap, which is managing the new US dollar fund for iFlytek. The fund is instead targeting Asian and Mideast sovereign wealth funds to invest both in apps and hardware, Luo said.

Why important: China is aiming to become a world leader in AI technologies and applications by 2030.  iFlytek is one of only four companies that Beijing has asked to develop an AI infrastructure platform for next-generation technologies including autonomous driving, smart cities, medical imaging, and natural language processing. Washington has been reportedly considering adding iFlytek to its blacklist, according to a Bloomberg report in May that cited people familiar with the matter.