A logo of SenseTime is seen during 2021 China Content Broadcasting Network Exhibition at China International Exhibition Center on May 29, 2021 in Beijing, China.
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Shares of Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime plunged as much as 18.25% on Monday, falling to an all-time low after news of its founder’s death.
Hong Kong-listed shares of SenseTime dropped to as low as 1.03 Hong Kong dollars ($0.13) on Monday – the lowest level in the firm’s history according to LSEG data.
Shares of the AI company are down about 50% year-to-date.
SenseTime founder and AI scientist Tang Xiao’ou died on Friday at the age of 55 after succumbing to an illness, the company said in a statement on Saturday. SenseTime did not reveal the cause of his death.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the sad news that our beloved founder, Tang Xiao’ou … succumbed to an illness and left us forever at 11:45pm on December 15, 2023,” said SenseTime in a post on its official WeChat account.
“Our deepest sympathies to Professor Tang’s family at this sad time! Professor Tang’s wisdom, enthusiasm and endless exploration of science will always inspire us to stay true to our original aspirations and forge ahead,” the company said on social media.
SenseTime develops AI software platforms and technologies, including AI-enabled content generation and facial recognition. The company joined the global race to develop generative AI since OpenAI’s ChatGPT exploded in popularity after its launch in November 2022.
However, the company was placed on a U.S. trade black list in 2019, which restricts American firms from doing business with it. The U.S. alleged that SenseTime is linked to human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region.
Tang founded SenseTime in 2014 and the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2021. He also held the positions of director of Pujiang Laboratory, director of Shanghai AI Lab, and a professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, according to the company.
The company in its Saturday statement hailed Tang as “an outstanding representative in the field of AI in China,” and referred to him as “knowledgeable, pragmatic and innovative.”