Tencent and SenseTime executives join Malaysian sovereign wealth fund board

Executives from Tencent Holdings and biometric facial recognition unicorn SenseTime have been appointed to the Board of Directors of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, which Nikkei Asian Review reports reflects the field which are investment priorities for the country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

Mahathir is chair of the state-owned fund, which manages $33 billion in realizable assets, according to the Review, and invests in local equity, including companies in finance, health care, telecommunications and aviation. It has also invested in technology companies such as China’s Alibaba Group Holding in recent years.

SenseTime says its Founder Tang Xiao’ou is the first foreigner appointed to the fund. Mahathir approved the construction of a $1 billion AI hub in the country as part of a partnership between SenseTime and G3 Global Berhad earlier this year. SenseTime is currently navigating intense scrutiny related to troubled U.S.-China trade relations and accusations of draconian surveillance by Chinese authorities using facial recognition.

Tencent Chairman of Group Marketing and Global Branding Lau Seng Yee, who is Malaysian, is also joining Khazanah’s board. Tencent is best known for its WeChat app, but has also developed AI technology being used by police in China to age photos of missing children to perform facial recognition.

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