The Chinese Artificial Intelligence startup industry is known for its avant-garde technologies, often overtaking other countries and technology giants to become one of the topmost players in this field.

Let’s have a look at the 10 best AI Startups of China :

1. SenseTime 

Founding year : 2014

Founders : Tang Xiao’ou, Xu Li

Location : Beijing

Funding : US$3.3B

Investors : SoftBank Vision Fund, Singtel Innov8, HOPU Investment Management Company, Qualcomm Ventures, Morningside Venture Capital, Silver Lake Partners, Tiger Global Management, Fidelity International , Alibaba Group,

SenseTime is an artificial intelligence company that specializes in innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies. SenseTime develops face recognition technology that can be used for payment and picture analysis, for example, on bank card verification and security systems. It was the world’s first AI unicorn and is valued at over US$ 6.75B.

2. UBTECH Robotics

Founding year : 2012

Founders : Zhou Jian

Location : Shenzeng

Funding : US$ 940M

Investors : Green Pine Capital Partners, Haier, Minsheng Securities, Telstra Ventures, CDH Investments, Tencent Holdings, CreditEase, Qiming Venture Partners, CITIC Securities.

UBTech Robotics is as an artificial intelligence and humanoid robotic company. It offers:

  • Alpha 1 Pro-a humanoid robot for entertainment and education,
  • Jimu Robot-an interactive robotic building block system that lets children build robots,
  • Cruzr, a cloud-based intelligent humanoid robot that gives service applications for industries and domestic environments and
  • Lynx, a robot with Amazon Alexa features.

They are dedicated to commercializing humanoid robots, making them walk out of the research space and becoming available to common people.

3. Megvii

Founding year : 2011

Founders : Qi Yin, Wenbin Tang, Yang Mu

Location : Beijing

Funding : US$ 1.4B

Investors : Macquarie Group, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, ICBC Asset Management, Alibaba Group, Bank of China Group Investment, Boyu Capital, SK Group, Russia-China Investment Fund, Ant Financial.

Megvii is an Artificial Intelligence company specialized in providing enterprises and developers with intelligent solutions and data services and is dedicated to the vision of “Create machines that can see and think”. Megvii is an AIoT solutions expert. It is building an operating system for the era of AIoT. Based on its original deep learning system Brain++, Megvii builds AI Engine, a core fundamental technology powering various AI applications.

4. Mobvoi

Founding year : 2012

Founders : Yizhou Zhu, Yuanyuan Li, Zhifei Li

Location : Beijing

Funding : US$ 252.8M

Investors : Volkswagen Group, ZhenFund, Google, Sequoia Capital China, SIG China.

Mobvoi is an AI company that develops Chinese voice recognition, natural language processing and vertical mobile search. It also offers a Chinese Smart Watch Operating System that features mobile intelligence voice search for iOS, Android, Android Wear, Google Glass and WeChat.

5. Rokid

Founding year : 2014

Founders : Eric Wong, Mingming Zhu

Location : Hangzhou

Funding : US$ 158.3M

Investors : Temasek Holdings, Credit Suisse, IDG Capital, CDIB Capital, Advantech Capital, Walden International, Vision Plus Capital.

Rokid is an innovative technology company specializing in robotics research and AI development. Their aim is to provide industrial design and excellent user experience with a focus on the research and development of speech and imaging technology. It also develops Pebble virtual assistant.

Rokid boasts of a world-class scientific advisory committee, consisting of Apple’s former global industry chain and production leader, the Director of the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Automation and Associate Professors specializing in CAD & CG from China’s Key Laboratory at Zhejiang University.


Founding year : 2014

Founders : Bruce Lau

Location : Beijing

Funding : US$ 153M

Investors : Seven Seas Partners, iFLYTEK

Roobo is a hardware and AI Company that has developed:

  • Pudding – smart robots for children,
  • ROS.AI – artificial intelligence solution platform that provides developers with a complete AI system solution consisting chips, modules, operating system, content applications, cloud service and others for household electric appliances, automobiles, robots and is considered to be a more comprehensive and flexible open platform.
  • Domgy – a robot that has automated navigation capabilities and is made for companionship. Roobo offers pre-orders of Domgy via crowdfunding sites in China.
  • Farnese – a service robot that caters to the needs of the commercial sector.

7. Bytedance

Founding year : 2012

Founders : Yiming Zhang

Location : Shanghai

Funding: US$ 4.3B

Investors : Tiger Global Management, GGV Capital, CMB Wing Lung Bank, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of China, Primavera Capital Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, K3 Ventures, Sean Ironstag.

ByteDance is an internet technology company that hosts various creative content platforms powered by leading technology. It owns a series of content platforms that enable people to educate, entertain and inspire individuals across different languages and cultures through machine learning technology. The startup claims to have over 200 Million daily active users who spend an hour every day on their products. It’s flagship product Toutiao, is the largest AI-powered content platform in China. Toutiao provides personalized content recommendations to every user based on their interests.

ByteDance also owns the very popular social networking App TikTok which is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos. 

8. Liulishuo

Founding year : 2012

Founders : Hui Lin, Wei Wang, Zheren Hu

Location : Shanghai

Funding : US$ 128.9M

Investors : Trustbridge Partners, Cherubic Ventures, Wu Capital, Hearst Ventures, GGV Capital, IDG Capital, CMC Capital Group, RTA Capital.

Liulishuo is an AI-driven EdTech startup that helps users to learn English more efficiently and communicate with the world. Its self-developed artificial intelligence English teaching, based on deep learning technology, can provide customized and adaptive learning courses for each user. It offers services in 379 cities in China and 175 countries all over the world.

9. Cambricon

Founding year : 2016

Founders : Tianshi Chen

Location : Beijing

Funding : US$ 200M

Investors : Guoxin Fund, Chinese Academy of Sciences, CMB International Capital Corporation, SDIC Venture Capital, China-State Owned Capital Venture Investment Fund, Alibaba Innovation Investment, GoldStone Investment, TCL Capital, CICC, CAS Investment Management.

Cambricon Technology is an innovator in the field of smart chips globally. It aims to build the core processor chips of various intelligent cloud servers, smart terminals and intelligent robots.

The Cambrian is the world’s first smart chip company with successful and mature products and has two product lines, terminal and server. The Cambrian-1A processor (Cambricon-1A), launched in 2016, is the world’s first commercial deep learning processor for smart phones, wearable devices, unmanned aerial vehicles, smart driving and other types of terminal equipment.

10. Appier

Founding year : 2012

Founders : Chia-Yung Su, Chih-Han Yu, Winnie Lee

Location : Taipei

Funding : US$ 161.5M

Investors : UMC Capital, Temasek Holdings, Pavilion Capital, HOPU-Arm Innovation Fund, JAFCO Japan, TGVest Capital, AMTD Group, Line Corporation, SoftBank, Naver Corporation.

Appier is an AI startup providing a platform to brands and retailers to help increase customer engagement. The company simplifies the use of artificial intelligence for businesses to grow and succeed in a cross-screen era. It also offers a platform that enables real-time bidding and programmatic media buying, artificial intelligence, data, and cross-screen targeting solutions. Appier also provides deep learning to help retailers retain customers and advertisers understand and benefit from consumer tendencies, forecasting user behavior using its AI platform. The company uses a technology known as automated machine learning that enables clients to target users without the hassle of hiring specialized AI engineers.

It serves around 1,000 global brands and agencies from offices in 14 markets across Asia, including Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jakarta, Seoul, and Bangkok.

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Aishwarya writes about the startup ecosystem on VCBay. She is a third-year Computer Science engineering student who looks forward to exploring the world of startups and finance.



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