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Tencent bets big on AI development with investment in two startups

The two companies are among seven startups the giant has invested in via its Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund since March.

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Chinese internet giant Tencent (HKG: 0700) has placed a strategic bet on the AI industry by investing in two companies, local media Caijingtuya reported on Monday.

Through the Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund, the corporate venture arm of Tencent, the internet giant took a 2.44% stake in Ningbo-based AI vision company Qting Vision on Sunday, just one day after it obtained a 1.23% stock in Beijing-based Sinoits Tech, according to enterprise data provider Tianyancha. Financial details of both deals were not disclosed.

Founded in 2017, Qting Vision is a provider of AI vision solutions. Its AI industrial vision detection system applies deep learning technology to solve defects detection in electronic and automotive industries, says the Ningbo-headquartered company, which has also established a R&D center in Hangzhou.

The other firm, Beijing-based Sinoits Tech, was founded in 2010 with a focus on smart transportation. Sinoits Tech is dedicated to the application of automobile face recognition systems and traffic data, as well as developing AI-powered solutions for transport-related industries.

These two companies are among the seven startups that Tencent has invested in via the Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund since March 19. The other five firms include Internet of Things (IoT) solution provider Uni-Ubi, intelligent robotics startup Yingchuang Ailun, fintech startup Moguyun, financial data provider Investoday, and smart manufacturing solution services China Intelligent Manufacturing Technology.

All these seven companies are under the Tencent AI Accelerator, a startup incubation project launched by Tencent. First established in 2017, Tencent AI Accelerator provides six months of support and incubation in technology, advisors, industry resources market, and capital to AI startups in China and overseas.

The Hong Kong-listed firm also runs Tencent AI lab, first launched in April 2016, which focuses on machine learning, computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing (NLP). The lab opened a research center in Seattle in 2017 to develop speech recognition and natural language processing, TechCrunch reported.

Only last week, the lab introduced a smart microscope that utilizes AI to better assist physicians in diagnosing cancer and other diseases, KrASIA reported. The device is the first of its kind to obtain a license from the Chinese National Medical Products Administration, allowing its use for clinical applications.