China’s AI titan SenseTime billionaire founder dies at 55, illness unknown.

  • Tang Xiao’ou, billionaire founder of SenseTime, a crucial player in the Chinese Artificial Intelligence sector, has tragically passed away from unknown health issues.
  • SenseTime, partially state-owned and once the world’s most valuable AI start-up, recently had allegations levelled against it relating to artificially inflating revenue.

Tang Xiao’ou, one of the leading figures within China’s AI industry, has died due to undisclosed health issues, leaving behind an enormous legacy in his wake. Xiao’ou was the founder of SenseTime, an artificial intelligence giant within China, and his pioneering work placed the company at the forefront of AI technology, specializing in areas such as facial recognition, object detection, and video and image analysis.

However, SenseTime recently came under scrutiny after it was accused by Grizzly Research, a US-based short-sellers firm, of artificially inflating its revenue through potentially dubious methods. Grizzly Research suggested that SenseTime might have been engaging in “highly questionable revenue round-tripping schemes”, indicating that customers may have been indirectly funded by SenseTime to purchase goods from the company that were potentially never delivered.

This intense scrutiny led to a severe fall in SenseTime’s stock value, with losses totaling more than 40% this year, and over 80% since its initial public offering. Despite SenseTime’s defence of its financial practices, classifying the allegations as “without merit”, the toll taken on the company’s stock value is clear.

Although Xiao’ou’s net worth was reportedly $1.1 billion at the time of his death, comprising exclusively of his shares in SenseTime, his passing leaves the future of the company uncertain, particularly given the controversy surrounding its financial practices. Yet, his significant contributions to the field of AI are undeniable, with his innovative vision guiding SenseTime to the zenith of the AI industry within China.