China technology
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
4Paradigm attained unicorn status with a valuation above US$1 billion in end-2018. Photo: Handout

Chinese AI unicorn 4Paradigm raises another US$230 million, bringing valuation to US$2 billion

  • The funding round has attracted new strategic investors including American technology conglomerate Cisco and the world's largest PC maker Lenovo
  • Sequoia Capital remains 4Paradigm’s largest external shareholder
Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up 4Paradigm raised US$230 million in its latest funding round, bringing its net valuation to about US$2 billion, despite a slowdown in investments in China amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding round has attracted new strategic investors including American technology conglomerate Cisco Systems and the world’s largest PC maker Lenovo, according to a company statement on Thursday. Sequoia Capital remains the company’s largest external shareholder.

“With its latest funding round completed, 4Paradigm will now accelerate the pace and scale of helping global enterprises achieve digital transformation through AI,” added the company, which said it started expanding to Europe and Southeast Asia in 2019.

Founded in 2014 by industry veterans that used to work for Chinese search engine giant Baidu, the Beijing-based company has been promoting the rapid and scaled industrial application of AI, and has won favour among state-backed banks – all five of China’s largest banks are its investors.

The new funding is a strong vote of confidence from investors at a time when the world’s second largest economy is being hit by the pandemic and venture capital investments are drying up.

Chinese start-ups scramble for cash as venture capital funds freeze

Fundraising by Chinese start-ups slumped nearly 60 per cent in January to February 21 compared to the same period in 2019, according to data by Preqin, which tracks the alternative assets market.
4Paradigm, which provides clients a suite of software tools that let them run complex algorithms on their data without needing to employ highly trained engineers, attained unicorn status with a valuation above US$1 billion in end-2018.

The company’s machine learning technology has been used in more than 10,000 cases in a wide variety of industries including finance, retail, health care and manufacturing, according to its website.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, 4Paradigm said it has also been at the “front line of the fight against Covid-19 since the beginning”, developing applications for screening, real-time scenario analysis and contact tracing. At the same time, it has also helped clients to shift workflows and business models online, as well as seize new opportunities for digital businesses, it said in the statement on Thursday.

Sign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.