Chinese AI startup Yitu has brought in $300 million in investments over the last two months.
The total is the product of a newly announced investment of $100 million from China Industrial Asset Management, which follows after a $200 million series-C investment round in June. Investors are evidently excited about Yitu’s artificial intelligence technology, which the company has designed to offer applications in medical diagnoses and treatment, smart city transportation management, financial services, and biometric surveillance based on facial recognition.
The investments are another sign of the growing sophistication of China’s AI industry, which has seen considerable support from the federal government. In April, another China-based firm, SenseTime, announced that it had raised $600 million through its own series-C funding round, making it the world’s most valuable AI company. Like Yitu, SenseTime also offers AI-driven facial recognition, which has been embraced by numerous Chinese police agencies.
China’s pervasive state surveillance infrastructure appears to be a driving factor behind the growth of its AI industry, particularly with respect to machine vision and facial recognition. Nevertheless, Yitu is seeking to make a name for itself in the West as well, having shown off its AI technologies at this week’s Microsoft Inspire 2018 exhibition in Las Vegas. Yitu’s live demos, operating on Microsoft’s cloud platform, took place in the same week that Microsoft’s president issued a lengthy statement detailing his company’s ethical responsibilities with respect to facial recognition technology.