pm lee hsien loong
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Reuters

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is on a official visit to China, took out some time out of his busy schedule to visit a Chinese technology firm SenseTime in Beijing on Wednesday.

Besides meeting political leaders, Lee visited artificial intelligence (AI) start-up SenseTime, known for its artificial intelligence technologies, including face recognition and big data analysis.

Lee tried his hands on a wide range of AI technologies, such as a system which uses facial recognition to determine the gender, age and current mood of a person.

Founded in 2014, SenseTime says it focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies and counts major companies China Mobile, UnionPay, Weibo and Huawei among its clients.

SenseTime's face and character-recognition expertise has also been used in commercial and advertising products, such as the Snow app, which is popular among Singaporeans for selfies and video messaging.

Lee was shown technologies that Singapore has been trying to roll out under its Smart Nation initiative. These include an AI-enabled surveillance camera network that the Chongqing government has used to monitor and track 70 suspected criminals.

SenseTime, valued at about US$1.47 billion, in July completed a US$410 million series B round, in what the company calls the largest private financing rounds ever closed by an AI start-up globally.