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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Shenzhen AI firm raises US$33m from SoftBank
    2017-November-13  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Zhang Qian, Peng Yan

zhqcindy@163.com

SHENZHEN-BASED artificial intelligence (AI) firm, Malong Technologies, obtained 220 million yuan (US$33.13 million) from SoftBank China Capital in B-round fundraising Friday. It was SoftBank China Capital’s first investment in an AI company in China.

The company will use the funds to develop new technologies, commercialize the AI goods identification field, explore new traditional industries and accelerate its plans to go global.

Set up in 2014, Malong mainly engages in the research, development and application of computer vision technology. Its product strategy involves forging an industry-wide goods identification platform using AI.

Last October, the firm released ProductAI, which provides corporate customers with goods identification, map search, general image recognition and other technical services.

Clients have used it in the apparel, fabrics, furniture, retail, food and liquor sectors. More than 300 corporate customers have applied to use ProductAI each month since it debuted, with usage growing at 40 percent a month.

ProductAI’s accuracy when recognizing fabrics is more than 94 percent, slightly better than human eyes. This has allowed it to seize almost 70 percent of the market share, said Huang Dinglong, chief executive of the company.

In actual use, ProductAI can cut costs by as much as 30 percent and make businesses much more efficient. Malong has also applied its AI technology to the design, production and retail sectors as well as other sections of the textiles supply chain.

The main technology developed by Malong is customized APIs (application programing interfaces), which help clients embed artificial intelligence into their products (such as websites, applications and back-end management systems) to better serve customers.

For instance, one of the company’s clients is a fabric e-commerce app named Youliaobao, which is an online platform for fashion designers and clothing makers. With the API developed by Malong for the textile industry, users are able to search for fabrics that match their needs by simply uploading pictures of the fabrics they are after.

The company has created ties with customers in Japan, Peru and other countries to extend the scope of its business overseas and so it can expand into furniture, e-commerce and new retail. It expects to release new retail solutions overseas by the end of this year or early next year.

In computer vision, Malong has made ties with the United States, Japan, Latin America and other regions.

Given that China makes about 70 percent of the world’s fabrics, the firm’s 70-percent market share essentially gives it the world’s largest database in the field, making it more competitive as it expands overseas.

SoftBank China Capital, the main investor in many of China’s Internet magnets, such as Alibaba Group, started investing in startups in the AI industry around the globe since last year.

Masayoshi Son, president of SoftBank Group, has addressed the idea that AI will enter an unprecedented stage of development around 2018 in many of his speeches.

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn