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What is Megvii, the Chinese facial recognition ‘dragon’ already worth four billion?

One of the most important companies you have never heard of is Megvii, a facial recognition company from China. Its value is estimated at around $ 4 billion and Megvii will soon be floated on the stock exchange with that valuation.

Megvii is unknown to us, but that can change quickly. The oldest and largest Chinese facial recognition company is poised to take the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by storm. With an estimated value of four billion dollars, the biggest investors are eager to get their hands on their piece of the cake.

What is Megvii?

But what exactly is Megvii? The company was founded in Beijing in 2011, its name comes from Mega Vision. This makes it the oldest of four ‘Chinese Dragons’ in the Chinese AI market. The other three are SenseTime, Yitu, and CloudWalk. Megvii’s base product, Face ++, was launched a year later. It was China’s first online facial recognition program. In 2015 Brain ++ was added, which is a deep learning machine that should help train the algorithm.

Megvii raised about $ 100 million in 2016, and another $ 460 million in 2017. And in 2019, 750 million dollars was added. The company was valued at $ 4 billion in 2019.

Previous investors of Megvii show how big the company has now become. Alibaba, Ant and Bank of China each pump hundreds of millions into Megvii.

Unicorn

So now it goes public as a unicorn. No doubt there will be a lot of interest. Megvii’s software beat those of Google, Facebook and Microsoft when it comes to facial recognition. Face ++ did this at the International Conference on Computer Vision.

That is also scary, because the company works for many local Chinese governments. For example, Human Rights Watch knew that the Face ++ code could be found in the Integrated Joint Operations Platform. This is a police app that is used to collect and track data from Uyghurs, a minority group in China, among other things. Megvii would also be blacklisted in the United States, but that did not come through. Ultimately, Human Rights Watch had to admit that the code in IJOP did not work.

IPO for 2021?

In March 2020, Megvii announced that it would make its deep-learning machine, MegEngine, open source.

Now the company is gearing up for one of the largest IPOs in the Hong Kong market. The application still has to be approved by the Chinese stock exchange watchdog.

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