Facial recognition competition heating up as Megvii reported in talks with Alibaba to raise $500M

Megvii is seeking at least $500 million in new funding, and is in talks with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other investors to complete a financing round with a valuation of between $3.5 and $4 billion, Deal Street Asia reports.

The company is reportedly hoping to close the new funding round in December, and gain enough backing to compete with Chinese facial recognition technology rival SenseTime. Earlier this year, Megvii was reported to be in talks with Alibaba and other investors to raise $600 million, just as SenseTime announced an investment of nearly $1 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund. Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial participated in Megvii’s $460 million funding round in 2017. Alibaba is also an investor in SenseTime.

In addition to providing its technology to Ant Financial, Megvii’s Face++ is used by Lenovo Group. The company’s existing investors include Boyu Capital, which was also reportedly involved in the talks earlier this year, as well as SK Group and the Russia-China Investment Fund.

Megvii partnered with a pair of Android component makers earlier this year to develop an Active Stereo Camera (ASC) 3D sensing reference design for offering facial recognition to secure online payments.

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