(Yicai Global) Nov. 29 -- Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] has invested USD227 million (CNY1.5 billion) in the Beijing-based artificial intelligence unicorn SenseTime Co. in the AI industry's largest financial deal to date, Caijing reported.
Founded in 2014, the tech startup specializes in AI technology research and development related to facial recognition, driving automation and medical imaging products. Its investors include world-leading fabless semiconductor supplier Qualcomm Inc. [NASDAQ:QCOM] and venture capital firms such as IDG Capital and CDH Investments. SenseTime is worth over USD3 billion after getting backed by Alibaba.
SenseTime is preparing for an initial public offering, but a timeline is still not available, SenseTime founder Tang Xiao'ou said previously in an interview. Alibaba's investment agreement requires that the company complete an IPO in the next several years.
SenseTime has offices in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Japan. Its client base and business turnover grew at least tenfold last year, making it the largest AI algorithm supplier in China.