The co-founder of China’s SenseTime Group Ltd. was visiting New York to encourage more collaboration with the U.S. on artificial intelligence when he heard the news: The Trump administration had blacklisted his company. So much for more cooperation.
Xu Bing, the 29-year-old co-founder, knew SenseTime was at risk given rising tensions between China and the U.S., but the timing took him by surprise. He was spending a few days showing off his latest products and meeting other AI researchers earlier this month when the Commerce Dept. put his company and seven others on its “Entity List,” prohibiting American companies from providing crucial supplies like semiconductors. His phone flooded with calls and emails from worried employees and investors.