Investment, Private Equity

Hillhouse Capital Leads $55M Round In Chinese AI Firm Yitu Technology

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China-focused investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group has led a RMB380 million (US$55 million) series C financing round in Yitu Technology, a Shanghai-based artificial intelligence start-up specialized in the field of machine vision, big data and advanced hardware.

Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia Capital, Banyan Capital and Zhen Fund also participated in the round. The company, which supplies its face recognition technology to China Customs and China Immigration Inspection bureaus, did not disclose its valuation in the new funding round, but it was valued at US$1 billion last year.

"Yitu has the ability to carry out leading innovation in the future. We are confident about its abilities to improve the current healthcare quality by applying AI technologies," said David Yu, co-founder and chairman of Yunfeng Capital.

Founded in 2012, Yitu’s products and services include Yitu Dragonfly Eye Intelligent Security System, a system based on machine vision technology and designed for city security, intelligent transportation and smart finance functions, City Data Hub, a solution to optimize urban transport management, and Smart Healthcare, which can assist disease screening, image diagnosis and clinic treatment.The company also produces intelligent hardware, which empowers machines to look, listen and understand their surroundings.

China Merchants Bank, for example, utilizes Yitu’s face recognition technology in 1,500 of its banking outlets. Yitu also partnered with Alibaba’s cloud computing unit to provide a cloud platform for the local police bureau in western Guiyang province.

Yitu plans to use the latest proceeds to invest in the research and development of how to apply artificial intelligence in healthcare and other sectors. The company has already developed its first smart medical imaging platform in China, which can provide diagnoses for patients’ screened data, analysis for various medical imaging devices, and sketches for organ separation and radiation therapy regions.

Its smart healthcare system has been used by a number of hospitals in Shanghai and Zhejiang province, including Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital and Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center.

Yitu received angel investment from Zhen Fund in 2013, one year after its establishment. In 2014, Sequoia Capital and Banyan Capital invested an undisclosed amount in the company in a series A financing round. In 2016. Yunfeng Capital led a series B round worth tens of million U.S. dollars, according to information listed on the company’s website.


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