Seven mainland China startups on CB Insights' AI 100 list

December 19, 2017 12:30
In its second edition of AI 100, CB Insights has identified seven mainland Chinese firms among the list of companies engaged in groundbreaking work in AI technology. Photo: CB Insights

Seven mainland China-based startups have made it to CB Insights' latest Artificial Intelligence 100 list, gaining recognition for the promising work they are doing in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

The number marks a step-up for China on the prestigious list, given that there were only four Chinese firms on the previous AI 100 list last year.

Venture capital database CB Insights compiled the list for the second year, identifying a hundred "promising private companies working on groundbreaking artificial intelligence technology."

In a report, CB Insights noted China"s "buzzing" AI startup scene. Five of the seven Chinese startups on the AI 100 list have achieved unicorn status, with four of them surpassing US$1 billion in valuation just this year.

The majority of the firms on the list were, however, from the United States (76 percent). Other startups on the list were from seven other countries -- France, Israel, Spain, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, and United Kingdom.

Among the Chinese firms, ByteDance, famous for its AI personalized news aggregator app Toutiao, was named the most well-funded AI startup of the year with US$3.1 billion in investments so far.

The remaining Chinese startups on the list include three other Beijing-based companies: Face++, known for its face recognition technology, its close rival SenseTime, as well as Mobvoi, the developer behind the Siri-like mobile voice search service Chumen Wenwen.

Two companies on the list come from Shenzhen: UBTECH, maker of humanoid robots; and Cambricon, an AI chip maker that is backed by the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences. Shanghai claims one spot on the list: Liulishuo, an English learning startup with AI-enabled teachers.

Also picked out by CB Insights for 2017 are, a self-driving startup joined by the former chief scientist of Baidu, Andrew Ng.

Appier, the Taiwanese AI-enabled marketing startup, has also been included in the list.

The 100 startups on the list have raised US$11.7 billion in aggregate funding across 367 deals.

Anand Sanwal, CEO of CB Insights, said in a statement: "Last year's AI 100 enjoyed amazing success since earning this recognition. Fifty-five of them went on to raise additional funding nearing $2 billion, and five were acquired."

"This year's list was culled from 1000+ applications and looks even more impressive," he said.

CB Insights says it has selected from over 2,000 startups in the AI field based on several criteria, including investor profile, tech innovation, team strength, patent activity, mosaic score, funding history, valuation, and business model. The startups on the list cover more than 25 industries in terms of application of their technologies, ranging from healthcare to cybersecurity.

According to CB Insights findings, Data Collective has backed 14 startups on the list, including Vicarious Systems, Trifacta, and Recursion Pharmaceuticals. Intel Capital has invested in 20 of the startups, followed by GV, which backed 8 companies. Other top investors include SoftBank Group and Lux Capital.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 19

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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