The coronavirus pandemic didn’t seem to have hurt Chinese AI firms’ ability to raise money yet, but as uncertainty drags on and corporations keep a tighter grip on their purse strings, many of these upstarts might find 2020 a rough year, reported Caixin.
Over the past two weeks, at least three Chinese AI startups in China have revealed the results of their latest fundraising rounds, including voice-recognition specialist AISpeech, which said Tuesday that it had raised RMB 410 million ($58 million) in a series E round. The Suzhou-based company was founded in 2007 and has clients in the smart-home and automotive industries.
That followed similar announcements by industry peers 4Paradigm and Intellifusion, which last week said they had raised $230 million and RMB 1 billion, respectively.
These announcements come against the backdrop of the world’s ongoing struggle with the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is set to hit demand for AI products. Chinese spending on information technology is expected to grow only 2.7% this year, while worldwide spending will be down 2.7%, according to the latest forecast by consultancy IDC. A forecast from IDC in February was more optimistic, putting the Chinese growth figure at 5.2% and global growth at 4.3%.