SenseTime creating $790 million AI investment fund

SenseTime is in the process of raising approximately 5 billion yuan (US$790 million) to create an investment fund for Chinese artificial intelligence companies, and has Esther Wong from Bocom International Holdings Ltd. to oversee its investments as a managing director, Bloomberg reports.

Wong will also take on responsibilities for mergers and acquisitions for SenseTime, a source told Bloomberg. She had been head of equity capital markets for Bocom.

The Hong Kong-based facial recognition unicorn is backed by Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments, which is helping SenseTime find investors, and has agreed to raise roughly half of the amount. The total size of the fund could change.

SenseTime Research Institute Managing Director Xiaogang Wang recently told an audience at the EmTech China conference that the company’s “face unlock” technology has been integrated with over 100 million smartphones through Qualcomm chipsets. China’s government has committed to major investment in AI technology development, and recently announced it has developed an open-source platform to increase the availability of AI to entrepreneurs.

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