(Yicai Global) Jan. 16 -- Artificial intelligence startup Aibee Beijing Intelligent Technology Co. has secured CNY165 million (USD25.6 million) in angel funding to make headway in the Chinese retail sector and shore up its teams in Silicon Valley and Beijing.
The firm will make big moves in offline retail, finance and education this year, online news agency Lieyun cited founder Lin Yuanqing, a former Baidu Inc. executive, as saying. Aibee is already in talks with a leading brick-and-mortar retailer, he added.
Despite the rise of e-commerce in China and the popularity of online markets, such as those run by JD.Com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., offline sales still make up about 85 percent of the nation's retail sector.
Aibee combines multiple AI technologies, including computer vision, voice recognition, natural language processing and Big Data predictions, to benefit traditional industries. Lin, who has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, believes its solutions will bring in revenue of CNY1 billion each year.
KinZon capital, a hi-tech investment fund, led the round with support from ZhenFund, China Growth Capital and other institutional and individual investors, the report added. The startup will also look to build new research platforms with the funds.
Lin left Baidu last September after leading its deep learning research unit for nearly two and a half years. Prior to the Chinese search giant, he worked at NEC Laboratories America Inc.