China’s AI-powered CCTV camera makers just got $1.6 billion in funding

Look out.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
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The maker of China's 170 million AI-powered CCTV cameras is a hot property among investors the past few months.

SenseTime has secured $620 million in fresh funds from investors Thursday, adding to its previous $600 million raised in April. The company is now valued at $4.5 billion.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba became the largest single investor in the company during the first round of funding, but it is now on more equal footing with new investors including Qualcomm, Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake and Tiger Global.

The funding will accelerate "the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners," said Li Xu, SenseTime co-founder and chief executive officer, in a press release. "The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime's global ecosystem."

SenseTime is the largest AI company on the world's stage, not only dealing with car company Honda, graphics card maker Nvidia, social media platform Weibo and Asia-based phone companies Huawei , Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, but also China's CCTV AI-powered surveillance system.

Its partnership with the government sees it process data captured by China's 170 million CCTV cameras and smart glasses worn by police officers on the street. The government aims to use this data to help assign each of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave, by 2020.