AI Startup SenseTime Readies US$2bn Funding

January 11, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (11-January-2019): SenseTime Group Ltd, the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence (AI) startup, is beginning preparations for a new financing round, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Chinese company aims to raise about $2 billion in fresh funding this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. SenseTime, which counts Alibaba Group Holding Ltd as an investor, is working with advisers on the fundraising, according to the people.

The Beijing-based firm raised over $1.2 billion last year including a round announced in May that valued it at more than $4.5 billion. The funding from firms including Fidelity International, Silver Lake Partners and Hopu Capital followed a deal to sell a stake to Qualcomm Inc. in 2017 that valued SenseTime at a more than $1.5 billion.

Bloomberg reported in July that SoftBank Vision Fund was also seeking to take a nearly $1 billion stake in the company. Deliberations are at an early stage, and details of the deal could change, the people said. A representative for SenseTime declined to comment.

AI Startup SenseTime Readies US$2bn Funding

Investors are handing billions of dollars to Chinese artificial intelligence startups, from SenseTime to Face++, hoping to ride a wave of support from a government intent on becoming the world leader in the technology by 2030.

But the growing hype is encouraging everything from video services to language schools to claim AI as integral to their business to win funding. Some investors have warned that the sector could experience a downturn if those companies fail to deliver revenue growth.

SenseTime specializes in systems that analyse faces and images on an enormous scale and works with policing bodies, retailers and health-care researchers across China and internationally.

The startup has said it experienced 400 percent growth in past years as it encompassed more industries, from cameras in retailer Suning’s stores to driverless cars for Honda.

Manhunt On Burglars Who Stole HK$5m Worth Of Jewellery

January 10, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (10-January-2019):A citywide police search is under way for three burglars who broke into a Hong Kong jewellery shop and made off with an estimated HK$5 million (US$638,000) worth of valuables in the early hours of this morning.

Officers were called to the ground-floor store on Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long, soon after 4am when the shop’s alarm went off. The three men had fled before police arrived.

It was the third burglary reported in Yuen Long district in 24 hours.  According to police, the store’s rolling shutter had been prised open. The three men had worn caps and masks, and had used hammers to break open display counters and grab gold ornaments.
Manhunt On Burglars Who Stole HK$5m Of Jewellery

“Jewellery and gold ornaments were stolen from the store,” one police source said.  Police said a gold necklace believed to be part of the haul was found on the pavement at nearby Yu King Square.  Officers scouted the area, but no arrests were made.

Yesterday, two offices on Fuk Hi Street in Yuen Long were burgled. A total of HK$232,000 was stolen, including HK$100,000 that was taken from two safes in one of the offices.

The break-ins came to light when staff arrived for work at about 7.45am, according to police.  According to official statistics, police handled 1,283 reports of burglary in the first 10 months of 2018, down 18 per cent compared with 1,569 cases in the same period in 2017.

Hong Kong Airlines Tops Punctuality League In Asia

January 9, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (9-January-2019): You may think of Hong Kong Airlines as an ailing company, but what you probably don’t know is that it’s one of the most punctual airlines in the world.

The Hainan Airlines-associated company is the world’s third most punctual airline, according to the British air travel intelligence firm OAG’s Punctuality League 2019.

Ranking just behind Panama’s Coba Airline and Latvia’s low-cost carrier AirBaltic, Hong Kong Airlines also tops all other Asian carriers including rival Cathay Pacific, which has not even made it to the top 10 in the region or top 20 worldwide.

It’s not Cathay’s entire fault. Its ranking has suffered because its flights to mainland China are often delayed by at least 30 minutes – no thanks to the Chinese air control system.

OAG’s Punctuality League, the most comprehensive annual ranking of on-time performance for the world’s airlines and airports, gives Hong Kong Airlines a score of 88.11 percent.

Hong Kong Airlines Tops Punctuality League In Asia

That should provide a boost to the carrier, of which debt-laden conglomerate HNA Group owns 27 percent via Hainan Airlines.

It has been reported that China Development Bank is ready to provide a crucial HK$4.3 billion financing to save the airline from possible bankruptcy.

That might explain why Hong Kong Airlines issued a rare forecast in a press release that it would carry more than 224,000 passengers in the Lunar New Year period from Feb. 1 to 10, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

According to OAG, Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing air passenger market with 12.6 million scheduled flights in 2018, up 6.3 percent from the previous year. Some 2.1 billion seats were sold last year, up 7.3 percent.