China’s largest AI firm SenseTime is exploring a dual listing in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland as it closes in on $1.5 billion of pre-IPO financing, Bloomberg reported Thursday citing people familiar with the matter.
SenseTime, backed by SoftBank, is seeking a pre-funding valuation of about $8.5 billion before kicking off an initial public offering, the report said, adding the company is leaning toward a dual listing though it hasn’t finalized a timeline.
The company’s previous IPO plans were shelved because of pandemic-induced market volatility as well as a US blacklisting that threatens to curtail its access to vital American technology.
It’s now considering tapping markets in Hong Kong and the mainland simultaneously, betting on a recent resurgence of investor interest in new listings, the report said.
Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that SenseTime was considering an IPO on China's Nasdaq-style sci-tech innovation board, also known as the STAR market.
The company was expected to raise $1.5 billion from its funding round which is due to be completed soon that will value the company at $10 billion, the Reuters report said.
SenseTime became the world’s most valuable AI startup after it raised about $2.5 billion in 2018. It was valued at more than $7.5 billion, drawing investors including SoftBank and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
The company is working with 127 cities across China with its facial recognition technology.