Established in 2012, YITU is another of China’s leading artificial intelligence firms. Its approach integrates hardware and software, with a focus on computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing and intelligent decision-making. It is also known for its proprietary cloud AI chip, QuestCore, which was launched in 2019 to support performance of inference-related tasks (effectively a capacity to apply its own leaning to applications of new data).
The Shanghai-based company claimed about 800 government and corporate customers in over 10 countries as of the first-half of 2020, after YITU saw its revenue grow more than tenfold to Rmb716.6 million in the two years to 2019.
Rising demand for Big Data applications in urban planning, healthcare and other business uses have driven sales, although significant expenses in research and development, and marketing, have kept the company out of profit. YITU is reported to have accumulated losses of Rmb7.2 billion between 2017 and the first half of 2020.
Amid a financing slowdown for AI startups, YITU filed to sell Chinese Depository Receipts worth Rmb7.5 billion on the Shanghai STAR Market last November. The company said it planned to deploy a third of the funds on system-on-a-chip R&D (integrated circuits that bring together the components of a computer or electronic system onto chips).
YITU then ran into tax issues linked to its variable interest entity structure (the company is registered in the Cayman Islands, forcing a suspension of its IPO application in March this year.
Co-founders Zhu Long, an AI scientist trained at UCLA and MIT, and Lin Chenxi, a Microsoft and Alibaba alumnus, hold all of Yitu Holdings, which owns 38% of YITU Ltd. Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital is the second largest shareholder.
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