(Sept 6): SenseTime Group’s valuation surpassed US$7.5 billion this year after securing investment from backers like SoftBank Group, yet the world’s largest AI startup said it’s in no hurry to go public.
The Chinese startup has been hosting regular roadshows around the world to educate investors on a business that now runs the gamut from facial recognition to robot delivery, Chief Executive Officer Xu Li told Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference in Singapore. It’s using the funds raised to drive forays into areas such as semiconductors, spending the past two years developing an artificial intelligence training chip that Xu said may complement industry-leading products from Nvidia Corp.
Backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, SenseTime is the largest of a clutch of Chinese artificial intelligence behemoths that may be in Washington’s cross-hairs. The US fears their close relationship with Beijing, but Xu said SenseTime doesn’t do business directly with the government, doesn’t own nor access customers’ data, and that collaboration with the public sector is focused mainly on developing a code of AI ethics.