On Thursday, Shanghai Stock Exchange terminated IPO applications of two AI unicorns in China.

One of them is YITU Technology, in the visual space (and competes against SenseTime, Megvii and Hikvision). The other one is Hesai Technology, a LiDAR company.

This happened not long after the halt of IPO of Unisound, another AI unicorn in the voice space. Our AI veteran friend already wrote a short analysis on that episode for TLD.

And these are not all – over the past few weeks, at least a dozen companies have seen their IPO application to Shanghai’s Sci-Tech Innovation Board (or STAR Market) terminated.

Unisound was recently also challenged by much larger, and already public rival iFlytek, as the former made claims of owning 80% marketshare.

The case of YITU is also quite curious – its Chief Scientist, Shuicheng Yan, has recently left the company to join Singapore’s SEA group as group chief scientist.

It is quite unusual for such a high profile person to leave the company in the process of IPO – and usually a signal of trouble.

YITU’s investments into AI chips are also quite questionable – more storytelling than substance.

In comparison to YITU, its larger (and arguably more successful) rivals SenseTime and Megvii, while also mulling IPO, do not seem to be in a hurry at all.

That says a lot.


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].