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Friday, July 1, 2022

SenseTime IPO: US slaps American investment ban on AI firm

The Chinese artificial intelligence startup was supposed to price shares Friday in its initial public offering in Hong Kong, where it planned to raise up to $767 million.

But its preparations to go public were overshadowed by news that Washington was adding SenseTime to another trading blacklist.

The US Treasury department confirmed Friday that it had decided to place the company on a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies,” in which US President Joe Biden has banned Americans from investing.

The US Treasury said SenseTime was sanctioned because of the role its technology plays in enabling human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

“SenseTime … owns Shenzhen Sensetime Technology Co. Ltd., which has developed facial recognition programs that can determine a target’s ethnicity, with a particular focus on identifying ethnic Uyghurs,”…

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