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China’s Coolpad raises $300 mn to boost artificial intelligence capability

19 January, 2018

Smartphone-maker Coolpad has raised $300 million (Rs 1,910 crore) from Chinese property mogul Chen Hua-backed Power Sun Ventures to enhance its artificial intelligence capabilities.

Hua, founder and head, Kingkey Group, is leading the new investment through Power Sun Ventures, a family trust.

“With this new investment, Coolpad aims to shift its focus from just a mobile business to an AI-focused technology company. We plan to expand this by creating AI-based applications across communications, health, education and gaming,” said Jiang Chao, CEO, Coolpad Group. This is the company’s first external funding round after the separation with electronics-maker LeEco last year.

“It is a very positive development for Coolpad, especially after a few ups and downs last year. With fresh investment and a road map ready, we are looking forward to have a new start to Coolpad in India. Apart from benchmarking the products, we will also be looking forward to introduce some inventive technologies, which will eventually benefit the end users,” said Syed Tajuddin, CEO, Coolpad India.

Coolpad India will look forward to strengthen its position in the Indian market with some aggressive products in the coming months, he added. The last product launched by the company was Cool Play 6.

Coolpad claims to produce 34 million smartphones annually and has $3 billion in revenue. The company, which was the first to launch the first CDMA-GSM dual-mode, dual-standby smartphone, has offered many smartphone models in India, with 2016 alone witnessing eight launches.

Of late, the artificial intelligence and the machine learning sector has been receiving a lot of attention from tech giants, such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, as well as startups who are trying to create a niche for themselves. Last year, quite a few AI startups had received funding.

In November last, Singapore-based fin-tech startup Active.Ai had raised $8.25 million (Rs 54 crore) in a Series A funding round co-led by Vertex Ventures, Creditease Holdings and Dream Incubator.

In August, Liv Artificial Intelligence Pvt. Ltd had raised a fresh round of investment from venture capital firm Astarc Ventures.

The same month also saw consumer durables giant Samsung and Wipro Ventures investing in US-based Vicarious, a robotics startup that enables computers to achieve human-level intelligence. Vicarious, which is developing algorithms to digitally replicate the part of the human brain that controls senses, is backed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, ace investor Peter Thiel and Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher.

In the first of quarter of 2017, 34 artificial intelligence-based startups had reportedly been acquired, over twice the number recorded in the year-ago period.

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China’s Coolpad raises $300 mn to boost artificial intelligence capability

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