An AI company backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Megvii’s facial recognition technology is used across a broad range of applications in China, from “smile to pay” mobile payments to identifying individuals for law enforcement.
The firm plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong but one of its joint sponsors, Goldman Sachs, said it was “evaluating” its role in the wake of the blacklisting.
Megvii said the US move “reflects a misunderstanding of our company”.
Only one percent of its 2018 revenue was from projects in Xinjiang, and no revenue was generated from the region in the first six months of 2019, it added.
In April, the New York Times reported that several Chinese AI firms, including Megvii, Yitu, and SenseTime, were behind software used to racially profile and track Uighurs.
According to media reports, former US vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who has been accused by President Donald Trump of corruption, is a director at BHR Partners, a fund that invested in Megvii.