Chinese face recognition startup Megvii raises at least $100M

December 7, 2016 - 

Megvii Inc., the Beijing-based developer of Face++ facial recognition software, has raised at least $100 million from several investors led by Foxconn Technology Group and CCB International Holdings Ltd., according to a Bloomberg News report that cites people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The startup is currently in discussions with other investors to raise more funding, according to the sources who requested not to be named due to the matter being private.

Though Megvii confirmed it is raising funds, it declined to specify the exact amount. The company plans to work with investors to improve facial recognition technology, particularly in the areas of the financial sector, smart cities and robotics.

Megvii provides face-scanning technology to Ant Financial, which runs the payments service on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s online shopping platforms.

In addition, the startup has raised funding from Qiming Venture Partners and Sinovation Ventures, the incubator founded by Google’s former China head.

The company is developing a system with Ant Financial that allows users to establish bank accounts online by authorizing their identity via a facial scan, provided it receives regulatory approval.

The latest funding round includes those investors that participated in the previous funding round.

Megvii’s application uses facial images stored in a Ministry of Public Security database, which stems from legal identification records on about 1.3 billion Chinese citizens.

The company said that Face++ does not breach privacy rights since neither the user nor Megvii can actually view the police data.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.