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Chinese AI unicorn SenseTime gets approval for a $1 billion Hong Kong IPO

November 20, 2021 7:14 am

Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime Group has received approval for an initial public offering that could raise at least $1 billion in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported, citing sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

In August, the company, which provides AI technology-based applications, including facial recognition, video analyzing, and autonomous driving, was reportedly planning to raise up to $2 billion in the Hong Kong IPO.

The tech war between China and the US has also pushed AI startups to the forefront. SenseTime, like the other two Chinese AI behemoths Hikvision and Megvii, was added to the US Department of Commerce's Entity List in 2019, making it illegal for them to buy technology or components from the US firms.

In the first half of 2021, the company reported revenue of 1.65 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 91.8%. However, it is still unprofitable, with a net loss of 3.71 billion yuan from January to June this year.

A timely IPO will help ease the financial crunch of the cash-hungry AI upstart, enabling it to make breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies or expand its business scope.