Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup Megvii Inc., is said to be raising at least $600 million from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Boyu Capital, according to people familiar with the matter.Alibaba and Megvii declined to comment. It is said the round will close this round of funding within week. The company will then seek a second round of funding.
The Chinese startup that develops facial recognition system Face++ already has billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and one of China’s largest state-backed venture funds as investors.
Megvii will use a significant proportion of funding from this round to support retail initiatives, including applying its technology in unmanned stores.
Alibaba is ramping up its investment in China’s largest artificial intelligence startups, hoping to employ the technology across its growing internet and retail empire.
Megvii provides face-scanning systems to companies including Lenovo Group Ltd. and Ant Financial, the payments company that underpins Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. It’s competing with SenseTime, another startup backed by Alibaba, for market share in sectors such as retail, finance and smartphone and public security that could utilize facial recognition.