CloudWalk is another of China’s ‘AI dragons’, with a focus on facial recognition technology. It was founded in 2015 as part of a project at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Zhou Xi, a computer vision scientist, started the venture with fellow researchers. Much of its funding has come from state-backed venture capital funds.

The state-backed shareholding in the company has steered it towards projects for Chinese government entities in areas such as smart security and transportation. Fintech is another of its biggest sectors and it counts more than 400 financial institutions as key customers, including six of China’s main commercial banks.

At the end of last year CloudWalk filed for an IPO on the Shanghai STAR Market to raise Rmb3.75 billion ($573.5 million) on an anticipated value of $3-3.5 billion. A few months earlier it joined its fellow AI dragons on a US government blacklist over allegations its technology had assisted in human rights violations, as well as posing a threat to American national security.

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