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, JD.com, 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.