Shares of the Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime began their first session higher on the Hong Kong stock exchange, temporarily reaching + 23%, despite being blacklisted in the United States.
The firm had postponed its IPO after the US Treasury announced sanctions against it for considering it part of the “military-industrial complex” allegedly used by China to repress the Uighur minority in Xinjiang province.
This led the company to postpone the IPO scheduled for December 17 and to submit a new request for a revised downward listing on December 20.
Ultimately, SenseTime raised HK $ 5.78 billion ($ 741 million) in its public offering for sale, selling 1.5 billion shares at HK $ 3.85 ($ 0.49) a share.
In its debut on the stock exchange, the shares rose to 4.74 Hong Kong dollars (+ 23%), although afterwards the price was placed around 4.10 Hong Kong dollars (+ 6.5%).
Washington says SenseTime’s facial recognition program, which can determine a person’s ethnicity, was designed in part to be used against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, where activists and Western countries denounce human rights abuses.
The company denies the allegations and claims to have been “caught in the middle of geopolitical tension” between the United States and China.