Alibaba to invest in Taiwanese AR startup Perfect Corp

Augmented reality in use for retail analysis. Photo: Trax

Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has agreed to invest in augmented-reality startup Perfect Corp. in its biggest bet so far in Taiwan, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Alibaba is leading a new round of funding for Perfect Corp., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Chinese venture capital firm CCV, led by former KPCB China Managing Partner Zhou Wei, and Taiwan’s Cyberlink Corp. are also participating in the round, the people said.

Perfect Corp. announced Thursday it’s forming a strategic partnership with Alibaba to bring its augmented reality technology to the Chinese company’s online platforms. It didn’t mention any financial terms of the tie-up.

Alibaba will use Perfect Corp.’s YouCam virtual try-on technology, which allows users to see what makeup would look like on their faces before buying, when selling products like lipstick and eyeliner on its Taobao and Tmall online shopping platforms. The partnership will help Perfect Corp. form relationships with global brands and access the beauty market in China, founder Alice Chang said in the statement.

“This is a classic win-win strategic partnership,” said Jeremy Choy, head of Asia technology mergers and acquisitions at HSBC Holdings Plc, who helped work on the tie-up. “Perfect strengthens its business and network in the important Chinese market and customers gain a better shopping experience.”

Representatives for Alibaba and CCV declined to comment while representatives for Perfect Corp. and Cyberlink didn’t immediately answer phone calls and emails seeking comment.