Hong Kong’s first ever AI unicorn, SenseTime, has teamed up with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to launch an AI lab in Hong Kong.
It is hoped the lab will enable teams from the two companies to help build an AI startup community. The lab, which will be called the HK AI Lab, will be funded jointly by SenseTime and Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
The lab will include supercomupters and will enable the teams to use technology developed by Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, as well as Alibaba Cloud’s machine learning platform and SenseTime’s deep learning platform. In this way, an open-platform philosophy will benefit both businesses, as well as AI development as a whole in Hong Kong.
SenseTime, which gained its unicorn status last year, is currently valued at $3bn. This most recent valuation followed record-breaking funding from Alibaba, Temasek and other investors. SenseTime’s speciality is developing facial recognition software which uses AI.
Cindy Chow, Executive Director of the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and an advisory board member of the AI lab, told the press: “In Hong Kong, there are a group of outstanding researchers in universities working on AI and we hope that the AI Lab will serve as an open platform that can give them more scenarios to apply their research.”
Chow added that the lab’s research and startup support will add to the economic growth of the city-state. “Hong Kong has always relied on professional services, financial services and real estate, but Alibaba and SenseTime believe that AI will create new industries and new jobs… to help Hong Kong’s economy sustain its competitiveness.”