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KEY STAT | Chinese facial recognition unicorn aims for Star Market IPO

Boasting clients like Bank of China and Shanghai Pudong Airport, CloudWalk secured fresh funding from state-backed funds.

China’s CloudWalk, the world’s largest facial recognition device maker, according to a 2018 report, collected an RMB 1.8 billion (USD 254 million) investment from a group of provincial and municipal funds, 36Kr reported Wednesday.

With total fundraising of RMB 2.8 billion (USD 400 million), the Guangzhou-based firm now ranks fourth among Chinese facial recognition developers, behind SenseTime, Megvii, and Alibaba-backed Yitu, as data from ITjuzi showed.

CloudWalk aims for an IPO on Shanghai’s Star Market by the end of this year, according to 36Kr. Other major players in the industry including Megvii and SenseTime are also rumored considering an IPO on the Star board, China’s answer to Nasdaq that allows easier access to capital for the country’s loss-making tech startups.

CloudWalk supplies facial recognition technology to many public venues and state-owned businesses in China, including the Bank of China, Shanghai Pudong Airport, and China Mobile’s offline stores, as listed on its website.

It had also assisted the Chinese police with over 10,000 arrests in the past four years, as South China Morning Post reported.

Since the company’s B+ fundraising round in 2018, the majority of CoudWalk’s investors have been provincial and industrial funds, like China Internet Investment Fund, Guangzhou’s Sfund, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.