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CloudWalk accepted for potential $580M biometrics IPO on Shanghai Star Market

CloudWalk accepted for potential $580M biometrics IPO on Shanghai Star Market

A race to launch a public stock offering appears to be shaping up between China’s four face biometrics unicorns, with CloudWalk’s application for an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market reported by KrAsia.

A prospectus filed by CloudWalk late last year shows it is seeking to raise RMB 3.75 billion (US$573 million at the time, now closer to $580 million). The prospectus suggests a valuation for CloudWalk of RMB 25 billion ($3.9 billion). The company is not yet profitable, however, having netted an aggregate loss of RMB 2.58 billion ($399 million) over three years from 2018 to 2020. It is also contending with a global chip shortage that could delay facial recognition deployments.

CloudWalk supplies facial recognition software to state-owned enterprises and banks, airports, train stations and other public security installations, according to the report. The company’s biometric algorithms have consistently placed among the leaders in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) FRVT tests.

The latest development among China’s ‘AI dragons’ follows Sensetime’s declaration last month that its IPO to the Hong Kong exchange is on again, as part of a dual-listing plan.

Yitu had filed for a listing on Shenzhen’s ChiNext exchange, according to KrAsia, which was previously reported as being to the Shanghai exchange, but which in any event was suspended in March, just as Megvii was filing an application also reported at the time as being to Shanghai’s Star market, though KrAsia reports it has applied to ChiNext.

Unlike those three privately-founded companies, CloudWalk was founded at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The company also counts numerous state-backed funds among its investors.

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