Face recognition startup Megvii raises $460m led by Chinese state fund, Ant Financial, Foxconn

Chinese Yuan notes. Photo: Reuters

China’s biggest facial recognition firm Megvii, more commonly known as Face++, has raised $460 million in a fresh round of financing, drawing investment from a Chinese state fund, Ant Financial and Foxconn Technology, a source with direct knowledge of the fundraising told Reuters.

A previous round of financing last December valued Face++, a Beijing-based start-up behind Alipay’s “scan your face to pay” function, at $2 billion.

The latest fundraising was led by the China State-owned Venture Capital Fund and existing investors Alibaba Group Holding Ltd affiliate Ant Financial and Foxconn .

Russia-China Investment Fund, a joint venture of sovereign wealth funds, and South Korea’s SK Group are also among the investors, said the source, who declined to be named.

A spokesman for Face++ declined to comment.

The Chinese national venture capital fund is a 200 billion yuan ($30.17 billion) state-controlled fund set up last year to invest in China’s start-ups.

The fund could not be reached for comment outside office hours. Ant Financial and Foxconn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The fundraising at Face++ comes as facial recognition start-ups boom in China on keen demand from the government and private companies.

Rival Sensetime Group raised $410 million in July from Chinese investors, which it said then was the largest single financing round for any artificial intelligence company.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.