Chinese facial recognition start-up Megvii Face++ has raised $460m in an investment round led by a government fund, as the country pours money into efforts to become an artificial intelligence superpower to rival the US, the Financial Times reports. The Beijing-based Face++ said on Wednesday that it had raised money from China State-Owned Venture Capital Fund and the China-Russian Investment Fund, which is backed by the sovereign wealth funds of both countries. Private investors including Alibaba’s payments affiliate Ant Financial also participated. Face++, which had a valuation of Rmb10bn ($1.5bn) before its recent round of investment, declined to reveal its post-fundraising valuation. The company is benefiting from a plan laid out this year by China’s State Council to become the world’s unchallenged leader in AI research and applications by 2030, and a subsequent push by government-run venture capital funds to support domestic start-ups. According to KPMG, the government has invested more than $1bn to date in early-stage funding for start-ups.
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