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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Firms in facial recognition  appeal to funds
    2017-November-14  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

BUOYED by China’s plans to build a ubiquitous CCTV surveillance network, Chinese and some foreign investors are pouring money into startup technology firms that specialize in facial recognition software.

At stake for firms such as SenseTime Group, Face++ and DeepGlint is a multi-billion dollar global public and private market for facial recognition technology that can quickly identify individuals by measuring major elements of their faces, such as the distance between the eyes and the curve of the cheekbones.

With the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the technology can recognize and track those wanted by the authorities by seeking a match from a database of photographs. In the commercial world, it can be used for security at homes, workplaces and ATM machines, and as a part of payment systems at stores and restaurants.

According to estimates from IHS Markit Ltd., video surveillance — including the equipment and video management software — was a US$6.4 billion market in China in 2016, with 176 million surveillance cameras already installed by the authorities or private companies.

That market, the largest in the world, is set for a compound annual growth rate of 12.4 percent through 2021, according to IHS. By comparison, the U.S. market was estimated to be worth only US$2.9 billion and growing at just 0.7 percent a year.

Investors seeking to profit from the market include leading U.S. venture capital firms such as the China arm of Sequoia Capital, which is one of the best-known Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

Hong Kong-based SenseTime Group, which produces deep-learning based software for facial recognition, autonomous driving and video analyzing, said earlier this month it had “attracted lots of interest” in its latest financing round without elaborating.

At the same time, SenseTime, which lists various police departments across China as major clients, has joined forces with its backer China’s CDH Investments to raise about US$450 million to invest in other firms working on AI technologies.

Its photography enhancement technology is also used by almost all of China’s major smartphone manufacturers including Huawei Technologies, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.

China’s biggest facial recognition firm Megvii, more commonly known as Face ++, earlier this month announced it has raised US$460 million in its latest capital raising, including pulling in money from China’s national venture capital fund.

With the funding, Face++ plans to expand its business from software to hardware by developing more products with built-in AI, such as smart surveillance cameras that can capture faces better and faster, said Xie Yinan, Face++’s marketing and public relations director.

Xie said that Face++, whose technology is behind Chinese company Alipay’s “scan-your-face-to-pay” function, has already helped the police catch more than 3,000 fugitives.

Smaller rival Yitu Technology, which lists more than a dozen provincial or municipal police departments across China as major clients, raised US$380 million from investors in May, including Sequoia China.

(SD-Agencies)

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