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AI Startup Yitu Seeks IPO on China’s New Tech Board

By Bloomberg / Sep 04, 2019 10:05 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: IC Photo

Photo: IC Photo

Artificial intelligence startup Yitu Technology is considering to go public on China’s new Nasdaq-style tech board to bankroll its expansion in facial recognition and security, according to people familiar with the matter.

Yitu is backed by Sequoia Capital China and plans to list on the Shanghai-based Star market, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. One person said the listing could happen next year.

Founded in 2012 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus Leo Zhu, the company is valued at $2.37 billion according to research consultancy CB Insights. Its businesses include security solutions that leverage face, image and voice recognition technology that can be deployed at airports, bus stations and residential complexes.

A representative for Yitu said the company was actively evaluating opportunities but didn’t have any specific plans.

Yitu also counts Gaorong Capital, ZhenFund and Hillhouse Capital among its investors, according to its website. It’s competing in a cut-throat industry that requires long-term investment and often lacks clear profitability models. Rival Megvii Technology Ltd. -- currently preparing for an IPO in Hong Kong -- posted 5.2 billion yuan ($725 million) in first-half losses partly due to changes in the value of preferred shares. China’s Star Market, which debuted this year, allows loss-making companies to go public.

Related: Smart Surveillance Startup Applies for Hong Kong IPO

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