Temasek-backed SenseTime launches AI innovation hub in Singapore

SenseTime had set up its regional headquarters in Singapore in 2018.
SenseTime had set up its regional headquarters in Singapore in 2018.PHOTO: SENSETIME

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Temasek-backed artificial intelligence (AI) company SenseTime on Monday (July 19) launched its international AI innovation hub in Singapore, while entering into two agreements to develop industry talent here.

Spanning a floor area of 246 sq m at Frasers Tower, where its regional office is also based, SenseTime's AI innovation hub focuses on segments including augmented and mixed reality, education, healthcare and customer engagement.

The Hong Kong-based company had set up its regional headquarters in Singapore in 2018. A search on LinkedIn lists 78 employees based in SenseTime's office here.

At a launch event on Monday, the company also signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Business China and Singapore's Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to nurture AI talent in Singapore.

"(The) pandemic has affected us in more ways than one. Yet, in the face of these challenges, SenseTime remained steadfast in our commitment to the region," said Mr Martin Huang, managing director of SenseTime International, in a speech at the event.

SenseTime chief executive and co-founder Xu Li added that SenseTime hopes to contribute to AI education in Singapore to "cultivate a future-ready workforce" here. The company has developed its own learning platform, SenseStudy, to promote AI training.

Under the Business China MOU, SenseTime will join the Singapore-China Youth Interns Exchange Scheme to provide tertiary students from Singapore and China with internship opportunities in the other country.

SenseTime will also launch a programme to introduce China's business landscape to students, under the Industrial Postgraduate Programme.

"We believe this arrangement will play an important role in supporting Singapore's National AI Strategy, as we cultivate professional AI competencies and the ability to appreciate local cultures and operating environments in Singapore, China and the region, facilitating cross-border collaborations," said Business China chief executive Tin Pei Ling.

Under the MOU with ITE, which spans two years, SenseTime will provide its SenseStudy AI Education curriculum to educators. ITE students will be placed with SenseTime partners under the Enhanced Industrial Attachment programme to work on proof-of-concept projects.

SenseTime will also work with ITE on Continuing Education and Training courses that provide adult learners certification in computer vision and smart city solutions. ITE will leverage SenseTime's know-how in deep learning and computer vision technologies, said ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek.

SenseTime's investment in Singapore comes as the city-state continues to attract Chinese tech giants to set up their regional base here. According to a 2019 report by Bloomberg, SenseTime's Dr Xu had said then that the company plans to triple its headcount in Singapore within three years to some 300 staff.

The company, which is also backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, is said to be gunning for a US$2 billion (S$2.72 billion) Hong Kong initial public offering, according to a June report by Nikkei.