Facial-recognition start-up Megvii said to have raised $142m

BEIJING • Facial-recognition technology developer Megvii from China has raised at least US$100 million (S$142 million) from investors, including Foxconn Technology Group and CCB International Holdings, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The developer of the application Face++ is still in talks with other investors for more funding, said the source, which requested not to be named. Megvii confirmed it is raising funds but declined to specify the amount.

It plans to work with investors to improve facial-recognition technology, especially in the areas of finance, smart cities and robotics, the company said in a statement.

Megvii provides face-scanning systems for Ant Financial, which operates the dominant payments service on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's online shopping platforms.

E-commerce and Internet companies like Facebook, Google and Baidu are embracing biometric technologies and artificial intelligence to improve security and smoothen e-commerce processes.

Megvii has also attracted funding from Qiming Venture Partners and Sinovation Ventures.

Megvii is working with Ant Financial on a system which allows users to set up bank accounts online through facial scans, provided it receives regulatory approval.

Investors in the latest round include those that participated in previous funding, the source said.

Ant Financial and CCB International declined to comment and Foxconn did not reply to e-mails seeking comment.

Face++ uses facial scans held in a Ministry of Public Security database drawn from legal identification files on about 1.3 billion Chinese. According to Megvii, Face++ does not compromise privacy because neither the user nor company can see the data.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Facial-recognition start-up Megvii said to have raised $142m'. Print Edition | Subscribe