PE com­pany sees fu­ture in Bri­tish AI

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By FANFEIFEI fanfeifei@chi­

One of China’s largest pri­vate eq­uity firm China Sci­ence & Mer­chants In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Group (CSC) will in­vest in a UK-based ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in­cu­ba­tor, as AI tech­nolo­gies are in great­de­mand in China and in­creas­ingly be­ing ap­plied to more fields.

The Chi­nese State-backed fund has signed a mul­ti­mil­lion-pound co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with Bri­tish star­tupin­cu­ba­torFounder­sFac­tory. The two sides will jointly hire 60 peo­ple, in­vest five early-stage AI star­tups and launch two new com­pa­nies each year, ac­cord­ing to the re­port inthe Fi­nan­cial Times.

CSC told China Daily this in­vest­ment is their business ex­pan­sion in over­seas mar­ket, with­out dis­clos­ing fur­ther de­tails on this mat­ter.

“The UK has in­no­va­tive AI tech­nol­ogy and China has a very big mar­ket and business model in­no­va­tion. We want to fuse the tech­nol­o­gywe find in the UK with the Chi­nese mar­ket,” said Da­nia Zhou, se­nior manag­ing direc­tor of CSC Group, who has been in charge of the deal, quoted by the Fi­nan­cial Times.

Brent Hober­man, Founders Fac­tory co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, said: “This deal is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it extends the reach of Founders Fac­tory into one of the most cov­eted, yet hard to ac­cess mar­kets on the planet, whilst prov­ing that the UK is recog­nised glob­ally as a cen­ter of ex­cel­lence for AI.

“AI will im­pact all sec­tors buil­tupon­large data sets rang­ing from health and in­sur­ance, com­merce and fi­nance, even beauty and me­dia and weare uniquely po­si­tioned to lever­age that trend and at­tract the bright­est tal­ent.

“By wel­com­ing such a pres­ti­gious tech­nol­ogy in­vestor into Founders Fac­tory, we con­tinue to strengthen our of­fer­ing to star­tups part­ner­ing them with some of the world’s lead­ing brands, in al­most all global mar­kets.”

Chi­nese en­ter­prises step up their lay­outs in over­seas AI sec­tor through in­vest­ment and M&A. In Jan­uary, Bei­jing Kun­lun Tech Co Ltd an­nounced it planned to ac­quire a 20 per­cent stake in the US AI com­pany Woobo Inc for $800,000.

Zhao Zim­ing, an an­a­lyst at in­ter­net con­stancy Analysys in Bei­jing, said: “For­eign AI com­pa­nies or en­tre­pre­neur­ial projects have an ir­re­place­able ad­van­tage in tech­nolo­gies, while the good andthe­badare in­ter­min­gled in do­mes­tic AI star­tups, and the tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers are high, so the op­por­tu­nity cost of in­vest­ing do­mes­tic star­tups is rel­a­tively high.” Cai Xiao con­trib­uted to this story

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