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SenseTime Hong Kong China’s IPO in limbo after US blacklisting – sources

SenseTime artificial intelligence (AI) startup office in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: The logo of artificial intelligence (AI) startup SenseTime is seen at its office in Hong Kong, China August 18, 2021. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

December 11, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime Group is considering whether it can conduct a planned initial public offering of HK$767 million. after the US added it to the investment blacklist, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Sources said on Saturday that the company has yet to make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the listing, while some added that they would consider whether to disclose further risks if it did. continue.

A spokesperson for SenseTime declined to comment on possible changes to the IPO.

SenseTime missed a pricing date for its IPO on Friday after media reports that a blacklist was imminent.

The designation was confirmed later on Friday when the US Treasury Department added SenseTime to its list of “Chinese military-industrial joint ventures”, part of a sweep of sanctions related to human resources. rights over dozens of people and entities related to China, Myanmar, North Korea. and Bangladesh.

The Treasury Department alleges SenseTime has developed facial recognition programs that can identify a target’s ethnicity, with a particular focus on identifying Uighur ethnicity.

SenseTime said in a statement on Saturday that it “strongly opposes the designation and the allegations associated with it,” calling the allegations baseless.

SenseTime’s addition to the US blacklist would bar US-based investors from buying shares of it.

SenseTime planned to sell 1.5 billion shares in a price range of HK$3.85 to US$3.99 per share during the IPO. According to company filings, that was due to Friday’s final price setting and stock allocation for institutional investors.

(Reporting by Kane Wu in Hong Kong and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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Bobby Allyn

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