Chinese Machine Vision Firm Yi+ Raises $14M Round

Yi+, a Chinese artificial intelligence start-up developing machine vision technology for content marketing, has raised a RMB100 million (US$14 million) series B round from Haitong Securities, financial services company Bairongjun Group and The Bank of Beijing.

The start-up specializes in developing object recognition and facial recognition technologies. It can track the objects, like food and clothes, in the movies, TV dramas and TV shows. With items’ information provided, customers can buy the same products appeared in the movies or TV shows online directly, while they are watching the shows.

Founded in 2014, the company targets e-commerce companies, media, smartphone makers and smart TV producers. Its customers include Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alibaba’s video content subsidiary Youku Tudou, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo and Internet firm Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd., according to a company announcement.

The start-up has also developed a virtual AI assistant, named Maioyixia, for TV shows, which will recognize celebrities and introduce their information including related news, filmography, reviews and the items they are using or wearing in the shows.

Yi+ previously raised a series A round worth tens of millions of U.S. dollar from Youku Tudou and LeBox Capital in 2015. It plans to use the latest proceeds to perfect its technology, as well as expand its business. It will also support Alibaba’s new retail strategy, by providing object recognition and facial recognition technologies for checkout-free convenience stores.

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