Chinese AI firm opens office here, plans to hire 50 to 60 researchers

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A Chinese tech company which has made an ATM that uses facial recognition opened an office in Singapore yesterday - its first outside China - and announced plans to set up a research and development centre here.

Yitu Technology is firming up the details but plans to start with 50 to 60 researchers, aiming for at least 90 per cent to be local hires.

"We don't want to limit ourselves," said Mr Lance Wang, Yitu's general manager of South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Macau.

The average age of its 500-plus staff is 27, with researchers comprising about 70 per cent.

One area the research centre will explore is customising existing solutions for the region, or finding new applications, said Mr Wang.

"We see Singapore as a springboard to enter more markets in the region - for example, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia," he added.

The firm demonstrated technologies such as a visual employee-tracking system and its ATM that relies on facial recognition at the opening of its office at Asia Square.

One Yitu client, China Merchants Bank, has already rolled out some 2,000 such ATMs in China.

Changi Airport Group and Certis Cisco are among Yitu's first local clients.

Singapore has been focusing on growing its AI sector, with efforts such as the $150 million AI.SG programme launched last year.