China artificial intelligence firm relaunches SenseTime $767m listing

People stop by SenseTime booth at Shanghai trade expo in 2021. The artificial intelligence firm plans to launch IPO in Hong Kong.

Chinese artificial intelligence start-up SenseTime Group has relaunched its $767m (£580m) Hong Kong share sale.

The announcement comes a week after the listing was pulled as Americans were banned from investing in the firm.

Washington has accused SenseTime of developing facial recognition software to determine people’s ethnicity, with a focus on identifying ethnic Uyghurs.

The company’s shares are due to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 30 December.

SenseTime has kept its target of selling 1.5 billion shares in the initial public offering (IPO) for between HK$3.85 (£0.37; $0.49) and $HK3.99 each, according to regulatory filings. The final price is due to be announced on Thursday.

The planned listing was postponed last week after the US Treasury Department placed SenseTime on a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies,” which bans Americans from investing in certain firms.

On Monday, SenseTime reiterated its denial of the US government’s allegations: “Our group’s products and services are intended for civilian and commercial uses and not for any military application.”

The company also said that although Washington’s investment ban did not cause any issues for its business operations the resulting lack of American investors could affect its ability to raise funds.

The listing comes against the backdrop of growing tension between Washington and Beijing.

Last week, the US congress passed a bill that requires companies to prove that goods imported from China’s Xinjiang region were not produced with forced labour.

The US has accused China of genocide in its repression of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority there.

Also last week, the US imposed more restrictions on Chinese drone-maker DJI and seven other Chinese companies.

The Treasury Department put the companies on an investment exclusion list, banning US citizens from buying and selling shares in them.

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