Hong Kong’s Tech Vibrancy
Initiatives like the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, a public corporation established by the city’s Government in 2001 to develop innovation and technology in Hong Kong, has helped the place— a special administrative region of China — to become one of the main players in Deep Tech in the Pacific Rim. And though the current spat many Hongkongers have with Beijing and the CCP over concerns with the rule of law, their pro-democracy movement and Xi Jinping’s national crackdown on tech, as of yet, this hasn’t affected the vibrant startup and VC scene too much in the city.
A success story in all this has been SenseTime, a leading AI software company focused on creating a better AI-empowered future through innovation. Set up in 2014 by co-founders Bing Xu, Li Xu and Xiaogang Wang, it can trace its roots solidly in the academic world and has taken SenseTime’s cutting-edge research towards full-stack AI capabilities. Covering key fields across perception intelligence, decision intelligence, AI-enabled content generation, and AI-enabled content enhancement — not to mention key capabilities in AI chips, sensors and computing infrastructure — the startup’s AI infrastructure, called SenseCore, allows the team to develop powerful and efficient AI software platforms that are scalable and adaptable for a wide range of applications.
Apart from having offices in Hong Kong and Mainland China, SenseTime also has a presence in Taiwan, Macau, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
All this hard work has paid off, it seems, as SenseTime has raised an incredible $2.6 billion in funding over nine rounds. According to a report by Tencent News in January of this year, SenseTime had a Pre-IPO value of approximately $12 billion after the investment.
Its core proprietary technology, helped by prolific contributors of AI-related papers in the research community, has opened up AI applications in multiple vertical scenarios, such as:
• Intelligent Automobile Technology
• General Artificial Intelligence
• Augmented Reality
• AI-enabled Content Generation
• Decision Intelligence
• AI-enabled Content Enhancement
• Medical Image Analysis
Products include the SenseFoundry Enterprise IoT Device; the SenseME software platform, which offers a full suite of products including SDKS; AI sensors and ISP chips while enabling a broad range of IoT devices to facilitate perceptual intelligence and content enhancement; and the SenseMARS, a software platform that serves as the key enabling technology platform for the Metaverse to create new life experiences, and others.
To do this and more, SenseTime needed to begin with a crack squad of co-founders and a supporting team of technically minded professionals to carry out the dream.
And they certainly have those two things in place:
Li Xu is the CEO of SenseTime. Prior to setting up the startup, Li Xu served as a manager at Lenovo. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Bing Xu is currently the Executive Board Director and Board Secretary and the first of three co-founders of SenseTime. Xu obtained a Ph.D. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, specializing in Deep Learning (DL) and Computer Vision. His research team is widely considered to be the earliest group of Chinese AI scientists to engage in deep-learning R&D globally.
Xiao-Gang Wang is another Co-Founder of SenseTime and the Managing Director of SenseTime Research. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The SenseTime-CUHK team led by him won multiple championships in ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) in 2016 and 2017. Wang’s research area covers computer vision and DL. He has published over 200 papers on top conferences and journals, and his publications have received over 17,000 citations on Google Scholar.
Wang received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As of June 2021, SenseTime can boast that its software platforms have been used by over 2,400 customers, including more than 250 Fortune 500 and other publicly listed companies. This only goes to prove its AI algorithms for facial recognition, image recognition, video analysis, autonomous driving, and medical image analysis have a market and equate to a company that is set to dominate the market in the years to come.