Alibaba-backed AI startup shown to mull up to $1bn IPO

Megvii, internet websites facial recognition developer Face++, is considering a short public offering in Hong Kong that will net about $1 billion, people acquainted with the challenge said.

Megvii is weighing an IPO to make between $500 million and $1 billion with Hong Kong as a destination, the individuals said, requesting never to be named considering that the matter is private. Deliberations are near a beginning stage without any final decision has been given as the specifics of the plans could still change, the people said.

The Beijing-based firm, backed by Alibaba Group Holding, joins rival artificial intelligence outfits raising funds to help match the country’s ambition of leading the field by 2030. Megvii is rivaling the world’s largest AI startup SenseTime Group Ltd. also backed by Alibaba when the two provide facial recognition technology to financial, retail, mobile and government clients. SenseTime is reportedly in discussions to boost about $2 billion.

“We will be looking at many options to raise funds but didn’t dedicated to one last plan,” Xie Yinan, a spokesman for that company, said in a very sms text message.

Seven-year-old Megvii provides face-scanning systems to companies including Lenovo Group and Ant Financial, the installments company that underpins Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. Its facial recognition technology has provided verification services to over 400 million people, the business said from a statement. Beyond commerce, facial recognition technology the corporation is building Internet of Things software to empower sensors and robots.

The government also is a client. Megvii’s AI technologies have been employed by in excess of 260 cities and helped police arrest greater than 10,000 people.

The startup’s investors include Boyu Capital, Ant Financial formally often known as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group and SK Group. Other backers include Foxconn Technology Group, Qiming Venture Partners and Sinovation Ventures. It had become supposedly raising a $500 million round in December at a valuation as high as $4 billion, people familiar said at the moment.

The company has around 2,000 employees and counts iPhone-maker Foxconn, logistics giant Cainiao and smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo among its roster of clients, it said inside of a statement.
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