SenseTime works with CICC for potential IPO in HK – sources

22 April 2019

SenseTime [Shang Tang Ke Ji], a Beijing-based artificial intelligence company focused on computer vision and deep learning technologies, is working with China International Capital Corporation (CICC) on its planned initial public offering (IPO), two sources close to the situation said.


The AI unicorn is likely to choose Hong Kong as its listing bourse and may hire two more international banks to assist with its IPO, the first source said. The second source declined to comment on this.


SenseTime’s spokesperson said the company is evaluating and has not made any decision on its IPO plan. She only confirmed the company was valued at USD 4.5bn after its Series C+ funding round in May last year.


One of its strongest competitors, Megvii Technology [Kuang Shi Ke Ji], which owns AI company Face++, plans to file for an IPO in Hong Kong at the end of April or early May, according to Hong Kong Economic Journal’s report in March.


Mergermarket in January reported that Megvii Technology had hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan as joint sponsors for its IPO, which may hit a valuation of USD 7bn.


SenseTime was founded by a team of computer vision researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2014. The company’s core technologies include face detection, facial feature point positioning, facial identity recognition, facial attribute solutions, face grouping, liveness detection and identity recognition. Its technologies are applied in smart city projects, mobile phone cameras, social media, retail and remote sensing, according to its website.


SenseTime is also active in investing in AI startups. Its portfolios include storytelling robot developer [Wu Ling Ke Ji], autonomous driving startup WeRide [Wen Yuan Zhi Xing], and IoT solutions provider Terminus [Te Si Lian], according to 36Kr.


As one of the top players in China’s AI industry, SenseTime has received massive funding so far. Most recently, it received an investment of USD 1bn from SB China Venture Capital in September 2018, according to this news service’s data. The company also received a USD 620m Series C+ round from Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake and Tiger Global in May 2018. In the same year, it completed a USD 600m Series C round led by Alibaba and participated by Temasek and Suning Holdings Group, according to Mergermarket data.


The company’s other investors include CDH, Sailing Capital, TCL Capital and Qualcomm Ventures, this news service’s data show.


CICC did not respond to email requests for comments. The spokesperson cannot be reached by phone.