Chinese Computer Vision Start-Up Simshine Raises $8M Pre-A Round

Simshine, a Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up focused on embedded computer vision technology, has raised US$8 million in a series pre-A round of financing, shows information updated on Chinese business data provider Tianyancha on Tuesday.

This round was led by Chinese mobile internet firm Cheetah Mobile, with participation from SkyChee Ventures, a Chinese venture capital firm specialized in investments in the hardware as a service field.

The investment came as computer vision has become one of the most valuable subdivisions in the AI field. The machine vision market in China, which sprung up over the last decade, was valued at about RMB6.5 billion (US$919.88 million) in 2018. The number represents a spurt of 47.7% on an annualized basis, or 11.0% of the global total, before reaching an estimated RMB7.9 billion in 2019, according to Research and Markets.

Simshine, formally known as Wuhan Simshine Intelligent Technology Co Ltd, was founded in January 2017 to specialize in software and hardware-integrated visual interactive product development and functional customization. The company offers internet of things (IoT)-enabled one-stop smart home services and products including home security products and imaging equipment.

The company launched its first AI camera product at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2019. The product, priced between US$99 and US$189, has secured an order of at least ten-thousand units from Amazon. Simshine plans to launch a new AI camera product in cooperation with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. The new product is expected to be priced at about RMB399 (US$56.49) and supports functions like portrait recognition and customized scenarios.

"Simshine has built a solid foundation in embedded hardware development and in-depth research capabilities in embedded algorithms, which allow the firm to realize AI model switching and other functions to meet the long-tail demand," said Cheetah Mobile’s vice president Su Liang cited by Chinese online publication 36Kr.

The company raised an angel round from Chinese venture capital firm Skyview Fund and social networking service provider Renren in April 2019.