AI startup SenseTime raises $600m led by Alibaba

Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime says it's raised the largest funding round for an AI company, yet.

Alibaba AI platform will make Malaysia's capital think smarter

China-based facial recognition startup SenseTime has closed a $600 million funding deal led by Alibaba, the company confirmed Monday. SenseTime says the deal marks the largest fundraising round by an AI company -- ever.

SenseTime's new funding values the company at $3 billion, according to Bloomberg. SenseTime provides facial recognition tech to companies including Qualcomm, Xiaomi, China Mobile, China Union Pay,, and more.

SenseTime said the series-C funding also included Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd and Chinese e-commerce firm Suning.Com.

Alibaba executive vice Chairman Joe Tsai said in a statement on the SenseTime funding deal:

"We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment."

For AI-driven Alibaba, the funding deal makes sense. It has made AI-related acquisitions in the past, rolled out AI products, and provided a roadmap for an AI future.

SenseTime raised a series-B round of $410 million last July and has Qualcomm backing.