China’s SenseTime sells out of Xinjiang security joint venture
  • Mon, 04/15/2019 - 21:15

Christian Shepherd

One of China’s leading artificial intelligence start-ups, SenseTime, has sold out of a security joint venture in Xinjiang after an international outcry over the surveillance and mass detention of local Uighur people in the far-western Chinese region.

SenseTime, a facial recognition software company that supplies Chinese police, set up a “smart policing” company with Leon, a major supplier of data analysis and surveillance technology in Xinjiang, in November 2017.

It has now sold its 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, Tangli Technology, to Leon, which said Tangli would continue with its strategy and that its research team had mastered key technologies.

A previously unreported statement, released at the end of last month, said SenseTime had decided to sell for “reasons relating to SenseTime’s own development”.

SenseTime’s international backers include Fidelity International and Qualcomm, and analysts said it may have been wary of putting off foreign investors as it plans for an IPO. The company announced a partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year.