China’s target to become the global leader in AI can be seen in many of its endeavors, among which is leading promising start-ups in facial recognition technology to deploy their applications in overseas markets.
“We look forward to collaborating with SenseTime to grow our AI capabilities and drive the adoption of AI technology across Asia,”
said Arthur Lang, the chief executive of Singtel’s international group. He believes that Singtel’s regional footprint enables it to look at “many opportunities to leverage AI”, from retail to smart city projects.
Creative, innovative and highly intelligent systems being created by facial recognition specialists in the world’s second largest economy are already seeing a higher demand in many major countries across Southeast Asia.
SenseTime Group, the world’s currently most valuable AI start-up, has recently chosen to join the likes of Megvii and Yitu Technology in making inroads in the region, which consists of 11 countries with a total population of 653.4 million, about 49% of which live in urban areas, according to the latest United Nations estimates.
“As Singapore serves as SenseTime’s international hub, we’re committed to building an AI ecosystem with our local partners and servicing customers with leading AI technologies,” said Martin Huang, SenseTime’s managing director in the city state. “We look forward to promoting the development of AI in the Asean region.”
Using sophisticated Artificial Intelligence algorithms, a number of innovative Chinese tech start-ups have also teamed up with major businesses on the mainland to adopt facial recognition systems in the financial services, retail and travel environments.
The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth 6.5 billion USD by 2021, up from 2.3 billion USD in 2016, according to the latest estimates from research company Technavio.
Founded at the Hong Kong Science Park in 2014 by Chinese University academics Tang Xiaoou and Xu Li, SenseTime has raised more than 1.6 billion USD in funding in three years since it was established.
In May, SenseTime raised 620 million USD to bolster its position as the world’s most valuable AI start-up, with a valuation of 4.5 billion USD.
Megvii, the Beijing-based facial recognition start-up whose technology has been used by police departments to arrest fugitives, has appointed a distributor in Thailand and is in talks with commercial banks and building managers to deploy its facial recognition software.
In Malaysia, Megvii is holding exploratory talks with state governments and banks. It is also working on showing the feasibility of its technology – known as proof of concept in industry parlance – to qualify for tenders by airports across Southeast Asia looking to upgrade their surveillance capabilities.
Shanghai-based Yitu Technology already supplies the Auxiliary Force, part of the Royal Malaysia Police Cooperative, with body-mounted cameras that use facial recognition to promptly compare and match images captured by users with those stored in the police database.
The company’s facial recognition software has also been used by banks to verify automated teller machine transactions, while its surveillance cameras are installed at borders to identify smugglers and illegal entrants.
Still, SenseTime’s own foray into Southeast Asia has attracted a large services provider that could potentially help deploy its solutions to more projects. Singtel, the city state’s largest telecommunications network operator, also runs the second biggest telecoms company in Australia, Singtel Optus, and has a 39.5 per cent stake in Indian telecoms provider Bharti Airtel.
“We look forward to collaborating with SenseTime to grow our AI capabilities and drive the adoption of AI technology across Asia,” said Arthur Lang, the chief executive of Singtel’s international group. He said Singtel’s regional footprint enables it to look at “many opportunities to leverage AI”, from retail to smart city projects.