AI Firm SenseTime Said to Tap HSBC For $2 Billion Hong Kong IPO

SenseTime Group Ltd., China’s largest artificial intelligence company, is working with HSBC Holdings Plc to arrange its planned Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise at least $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

China International Capital Corp. is also arranging the share sale for the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed company, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The company isn’t tapping any U.S. banks for the offering because it is on the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security’s entity list, strictly limiting its ability to do business with American firms, the people said.

The AI startup has been exploring a dual listing in Hong Kong and China, Bloomberg News reported last year. The Hong Kong share sale could even raise as much as $3 billion depending on the valuation the company is seeking, the people said. SenseTime plans to file for its Hong Kong IPO as soon as the coming weeks, they added.

Founded in 2014, SenseTime develops AI technology for use in autonomous driving, augmented reality, facial recognition, medical image analysis and other fields. Its business boomed during the coronavirus pandemic last year despite its presence on the U.S.’s blacklist, amid growing demand for its facial recognition software from local governments in China.

Details of SenseTime’s IPO including size and timeline could change as deliberations continue, said the people. A representative for HSBC declined to comment, while SenseTime declined to comment in an emailed statement.

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