Top AI startup SenseTime inks deal with China's digital currency research institute

SenseTime, the world’s most-valued artificial intelligence (AI) startup with over $7.5 billion valuation, has signed a cooperation agreement with China’s digital currency research institute -- a unit of the country’s central bank that is overseeing the development of digital yuan. 

Announcing the news on Monday, Hong Kong-based SenseTime said the agreement is aimed at accelerating the innovation and implementation of AI technology in China’s financial industry.

"The two parties will jointly establish a research and innovation body, take application scenarios as guidance, jointly develop applications of AI technology in financial scenarios, and accelerate the advancement of AI innovation research in the financial field,” said SenseTime.

Specific details on the deal remain unknown, but it is reportedly focused on strengthening “risk control and operational capabilities” across China's financial institutions.

Founded in 2014, SenseTime specializes in systems that analyze faces and images on a huge scale.  The firm has hundreds of clients and partners, including Xiaomi, Huawei, Alibaba and Weibo.

Alibaba is also an investor in SenseTime, having led the startup's $600 million funding round in 2018. SenseTime's other big-name backers include Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings, Qualcomm Ventures and SoftBank Vision Fund, among others.