SenseTime Group, a Hong Kong based start-up, has teamed up with the Chinese CDH Investments to try to raise 3 billion yuan ($453 million). It is thought that CDH and SenseTime will act as co-managers of the fund. The firms intend to invest this money in developing artificial intelligence technology. They plan to invest the money raised in growth stage artificial intelligence start-ups across the world. This move comes amid Beijing’s drive to be a leader in artificial intelligence.
Recently artificial intelligence, and the possibilities it brings, has come increasingly to the attention of a range of industries, from healthcare to financial services. All these bodies hope that artificial intelligence driven algorithms will be able to sort through reams of data before recognising patterns and solving problems.
This deal is not unique in Asia. Recently SenseTime raised $410 million. This effort was also led by CDH as well as China’s state-backed fund Sailing Capital. The deal was one of the largest fundraising rounds by an artificial intelligence firm and valued the company at over $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile state think-tank Chinese Academy of Sciences teamed up with investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group to launch an artificial intelligence focused funds, with an initial fundraising target of 1 billion yuan ($150 million). Similarly Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc announced its intention to make its mark on the artificial intelligence market by opening the first national artificial intelligence laboratory in partnership with state planner the National Development and Reform Commission.
This artificial intelligence centred fundraising drive has come in the wake of plans unveiled in Beijing to make artificial development the focus of the country’s economic development. This has seen predictions that the country’s core artificial intelligence industries will be valued at more than 150 billion yuan by 2020 and 400 billion yuan by 2025. This move will also see China rivalling the U.S. as market leaders in artificial intelligence.
As China invests heavily in artificial intelligence the United States is planning to bolster the scrutiny given to investments, including artificial intelligence. This comes amid fears that countries including China could access technology of strategic military importance. In response China’s State Council acknowledged that the “situation with China on national security and international competition is complex”. It claims that this situation is part of the incentive behind the country’s decision to heavily invest in domestic based artificial intelligence companies.