China-based artificial intelligence specialist SenseTime raised $600 million in a Series C funding round led by e-commerce giant Alibaba, which it said will “provide important impetus” in the buildout of its platform.
According to Bloomberg, the round values SenseTime at more than $3 billion.
Other investors included Singapore state fund Temasek Holding and China-based e-commerce company Suning. US-based chipmaker Qualcomm is an existing partner.
SenseTime develops AI applications for facial recognition, video analysis, autonomous driving and deep learning hardware optimisation.
Li Xu, SenseTime co-founder and CEO, said the funding will accelerate the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners.
“The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem,” he said.
Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba, said: “SenseTime is doing pioneering work in artificial intelligence. We are especially impressed by its R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment.”
Last year SenseTime announced a series of strategic partnerships in China and abroad. In November the company said it signed a “strategic investment agreement” with Qualcomm, building on an deal struck in October which will see the companies collaborate on developing “on-device AI solutions”.