Alibaba buys Israeli AR startup amid China investment scrutiny

An attendee uses an Oculus VR Virtual Reality headset during the F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, California, US. (Bloomberg pic)

TEL AVIV: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba 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 US$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 US$18 million from Alibaba and Japanese firm Sun in 2016.

The acquisition comes during a time of heightened scrutiny over the role of Chinese investment in Israel.

US officials have raised the prospect of a body to vet investments similar to the US Committee on Foreign Investment.