- Jack Lau
Wow valuations for Hong Kong Startups! (USD 24 billion -- not even IPO!)
Apologies to our dear readers that we have been rather tardy in writing up the next blog. But, you will forgive us as we have been busy looking more deeply into a few ventures locally. Hopefully, we will be able to divulge more in details down the road.
But, for now, just want to share with folks a few tidbits and thoughts
DJI -- The Emperor of Drones
Well, the first one is a super good news for local Hong Kong tech scene. DJI, the probably most talked about tech spin off from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, apparently did a private round of fund raising of US 1 billion, putting its valuation at US 24 billion. It is reported that in 2017, DJI's revenue reached 17.5 billion RMB (about 2.8 billion USD) with a profit of RMB 4.3 billion (USD 640 million).
Putting things in prospective, Dropbox has done an IPO at a valuation of US7 billion (that is 3 times less than a private placement for DJI).
Way to go for a startup literally started from the dorm room at Clear Water Bay in Hong Kong.
Sensetime -- Facial Recognition
Another startup in Hong Kong called Sensetime has also closed a round of investment at US3 billion. Alibaba has just put in US 600 million into the company, a few months after the likes of Qualcomm had invested. For those folks who don't know, Sensetime does facial recognition. We don't know whether the facial recognition experiment done by a BBC reporter used Sensetime, but the idea is about the same. And, if you are interested, take a look at this video. It is both fun (but pretty frightening as well).
Check out this video of how a BBC reporter tried to evade the surveillance in China.
Malong -- Image Recognition in Shenzhen
On this note, let's see another technology startup in Shenzhen founded by some ex-Microsoft folks. We saw the founders presenting the technologies and thought this is really cool. The name of the company is called Malong.
Here is what it does. Users can take a picture of anything (literally), such as clothes, the image recognition engine can then find out not just the style of this cloth, but the texture. Imagine this, instead of going to a trade show (if you are a fashion guy), you let the Malong engine run on a huge database of fashion around the world, and it will tell you what is hot (style, textile used, color etc).
It does other object recognition as well of course.
Malong just closed a round of about RMB 300 Million at the end of 2017.
AI is part technologies and a whole lot more on database (samples size). China does have an edge on the “size” and availability side.
And, interesting this is found by a team of two, an American and a Chinese in Shenzhen. Interesting indeed. Good luck, Malong.
On the visual recognition side, now we are on a tour to Europe. We survive and no less in part due to the use of app such as Microsoft Translator. The days of mis-ordering food in a local restaurant in Moscow or getting lost in the vast network of Metro frankly is gone. Even managed to barely exchange some pleasantries with the folks serving us.
Our dream goes wild. Imagine the finally building up of a low power portable device such Google glass equipped with microphone and speaker. Translate and recognize for us. We think that it is forthcoming soon and please send us one!