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Alibaba Buys Israeli AR Startup Amid China Investment Scrutiny

Ivan Levingston
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Alibaba Buys Israeli AR Startup Amid China Investment Scrutiny

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has acquired Israeli startup Infinity Augmented Reality, after investing in the company three years ago.

InfinityAR will join Alibaba’s Israel Machine Vision Laboratory, according to a release dated Thursday on the startup’s website. Financial details were not disclosed, but Alibaba paid more than $10 million, according to an estimate from market sources cited by Globes.

“The talented team brings unique know-how in sensor fusion, computer vision and navigation technologies,” lab head Lihi Zelnik-Manor said in the release.

The startup says it can turn AR glasses into a “powerful content augmentation platform.” It had previously raised $18 million from Alibaba and Japanese firm Sun Corp. in 2016.

The acquisition comes during a time of heightened scrutiny over the role of Chinese investment in Israel. U.S. officials have raised the prospect of a body to vet investments similar to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ivan Levingston in Tel Aviv at ilevingston@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Srinivasan Sivabalan, Crystal Chui

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