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Last week, American aerospace company SpaceX received a USD 50 million investment from Shanghai-based manufacturing company turned investment firm Leo Group. Leo Group is mostly known for successful early bets on tech companies like electric vehicle startup Li Auto. The Zhejiang-based company’s share price soared by more than 30% following the announcement.
With a valuation nearing USD 100 billion, SpaceX has served as an archetype for China’s nascent private space sector, which began to develop in earnest after 2016. Chinese aerospace startups are springing up to meet the demand for more low-orbit commercial satellites.
Going Public: IPOs
Last week, Chinese AI company SenseTime had its IPO application approved by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange ahead of a public offering that could raise at least USD 1 billion. SenseTime’s AI software leverages computer vision solutions to enable facial and object recognition for use in smart city infrastructure, retail scenarios, and educational settings. The company’s existing backers include SoftBank and Alibaba, while its clients are both government organizations and private enterprises.
SenseTime generated USD 532 million in revenue in 2020, up 13.8% compared to 2019, but its net losses widened from USD 768 million in 2019 to USD 1.8 billion in 2020. The company plans to invest 60% of the IPO proceeds to enhance R&D capabilities, with 35% allocated to mass producing AI-powered infrastructure and 25% going towards other technologies.
KrASIA News Picks
China’s annual online shopping bonanza Singles’ Day adopted a tone of sustainability this year, as titans like Alibaba and JD.com were muted when announcing their events’ sales figures. Instead of bombarding consumers with real-time updates of GMV totals, Alibaba’s Tmall offered RMB 100 million (USD 15.7 million) worth of “green shopping vouchers” to contribute to an “eco-friendly lifestyle.”
In other news, earnings season is upon us once again. Check out our coverage of Alibaba’s underwhelming Q3 and JD.com’s resilient results.