Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Chinese AI Giant Blacklisted by Trump Thrives in Virus Era

  • World’s largest AI startup SenseTime sees business boom
  • SenseTime is said to expect 80% revenue growth this year
A screen shows a demonstration of SenseTime’s SenseVideo pedestrian and vehicle recognition system in Beijing in 2018.
A screen shows a demonstration of SenseTime’s SenseVideo pedestrian and vehicle recognition system in Beijing in 2018.Photographer: Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg
Updated on

The future of China’s largest artificial intelligence company was thrown into question last year when it was blacklisted by the Trump administration. Today, SenseTime is thriving with growing demand for its facial recognition software, especially as local governments in China adopt its technology to battle the coronavirus.

The Hong Kong-based startup’s revenue surged 147% to 5 billion yuan ($720 million) in 2019 and its customer base increased by about 500 to 1,200 clients, according to co-founder Xu Bing. Sales are on track to climb 80% this year to about 9 billion yuan and gross profit could double, according to people familiar with the matter.