Beijing-based big data and artificial intelligence (AI) company MiningLamp Technology, which has been called “China’s Palantir” for its similarities to the US data analytics firm, has closed a US$300 million funding round co-led by Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings and Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.
The Chinese company’s Series E funding round has attracted short-video start-up Kuaishou among other backers, it announced in a statement on Friday, adding that the investment will bankroll its continued efforts in research, talent hiring and business expansion.
“With the capital injection, MiningLamp can speed up our efforts to empower our clients to digitise, helping them successfully transform at a time full of uncertainty,” said the company’s founder and CEO Wu Minghui in the statement.
MiningLamp’s fundraising comes amid a global coronavirus pandemic, expected to further dampen China’s funding environment which had already been cooling amid an overall slowdown in the domestic economy as well as an ongoing tech war with the US.
Last year, the country’s AI start-ups closed 13 per cent of global funding deals, but the total amount of around US$2.9 billion they raised accounted for only 11 per cent of total funds raised by AI start-ups worldwide, down from 21 per cent in 2018, according to tech-market intelligence firm CB Insights.
“2020 has been marked by ‘black swans’ [unpredictable or unusual events],” MiningLamp said in the statement on Friday. “Against a subdued macro and venture capital environment, MiningLamp’s fundraising is a strong boost to the enterprise service industry in general and showcases recognition from investors of the company’s capabilities in intelligent and digital transformation.”
Founded in 2014, MiningLamp gained initial success by offering online ad performance evaluations and fraud detection services for advertisers, before expanding the business to industries such as public security, smart cities, finance, logistics, entertainment, retail and manufacturing.
Last year, the company backed by investors including Tencent, China Renaissance and Sequoia Capital China was hand-picked as one of China’s national AI champions.
Although not as well known as US equivalent Palantir Technologies, which reportedly contributed to America’s success in hunting down Osama bin Laden, MiningLamp’s data mining software is used to spot crime patterns, track drug dealers and prevent human trafficking.
“Cases are being resolved on our platforms every day” in more than 60 cities and regions in China, Wu told the Post in an interview in November. “We can run fast analysis on potential drug dealers or major suspects, improving the overall case-solving efficiency several hundred times.”
The company’s software enables users to search huge volumes of heterogeneous data – information with a great variety of types and formats – and process that into actionable knowledge and insight using a combination of proprietary data management tools.
The company said the investment will also enable it to focus on building smart marketing and data analytics platforms and diversify its business lines.
Its latest offerings include data management and analytics tools for local communities to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and a separate platform for companies to evaluate the possibility of their staff carrying the infection and to conduct self-checks before resuming operations.
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