Yitu IPO on Track: China's AI Unicorn to Make a Splash on SSE Star Market

Technology Author: Yingwei Fu Nov 05, 2020 12:05 PM (GMT+8)

The six-year-old AI company is now ready for the public market.

Image credit: Yitu

On November 4, Shanghai Stock Exchange accepted Yitu Technology’s IPO request. The Shanghai-based AI unicorn intends to raise CNY 7.51 billion to further support R&D projects including AI chips, computer-vision-based edge computing systems, the computer vision (CV) computing platform, the semantic analysis computing platform, and so on.

Since its foundation in 2014, the company has received over USD 300 million in the lead up to its latest Series C+ financing round, with money coming from famous VCs like Sequoia China, Hillhouse Capital, Gaorong Capital and ZhenFund. Yitu plans to issue 36.41 million shares in the form of CDR on the Star market (around 291 million CDRs, 1 share = 8 CDRs).

As disclosed by the prospectus, Yitu saw revenue of CNY 68.7 million, CNY 304.3 million and CNY 716.8 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively; during the same reporting period, net loss was CNY 1,168.5 million, CNY 1,168.4 million and CNY 3,647.1 million.

Branding as AI companies, Yitu along with SenseTime, Megvii and CloudWalk calling the ‘China’s AI four dragons’ claimed over 60% of the CV market share in China. Yitu had over 800 technicians and engineers, accounting 55.5% of the total employee counts by the end of June 2020. R&D expenses were CNY 101 million, CNY 291 million and CNY 657 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Among ‘China’s Four AI Dragons,’ Yitu might be the first to be listed on the bourse. While it claimed it would go public on the Hong Kong Exchange as early as 2019, Megvii later hit the pause button. Rumors then had it that the company was mulling a dual-listing plan on both the Hong Kong and A-share markets; CloudWalk then registered to prepare an A-share IPO in August; SenseTime has no IPO plan.