HONG KONG, Oct 31 (Reuters) - China’s biggest facial recognition firm Megvii, more commonly known as Face++, has raised $460 million in a fresh round of financing, drawing investment from a Chinese state fund, Ant Financial and Foxconn Technology, a source with direct knowledge of the fundraising told Reuters.
A previous round of financing last December valued Face++, a Beijing-based start-up behind Alipay’s “scan your face to pay” function, at $2 billion.
The latest fundraising was led by the China State-owned Venture Capital Fund and existing investors Alibaba Group Holding Ltd affiliate Ant Financial and Foxconn .
Russia-China Investment Fund, a joint venture of sovereign wealth funds, and South Korea’s SK Group are also among the investors, said the source, who declined to be named.
A spokesman for Face++ declined to comment.
The Chinese national venture capital fund is a 200 billion yuan ($30.17 billion) state-controlled fund set up last year to invest in China’s start-ups.
The fund could not be reached for comment outside office hours. Ant Financial and Foxconn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The fundraising at Face++ comes as facial recognition start-ups boom in China on keen demand from the government and private companies.
Rival Sensetime Group raised $410 million in July from Chinese investors, which it said then was the largest single financing round for any artificial intelligence company.
$1 = 6.6300 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Ian Geoghegan