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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SenseTime, a Chinese developer of facial recognition technology, is delaying its Hong Kong IPO after being added to a U.S. Treasury Department blacklist of "Chinese military-industrial companies."

Why it matters: This is China's most highly valued AI company, fetching a $13 billion mark after being placed on a different U.S. government blacklist for its alleged involvement in human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. That original designation prevented SenseTime from doing business with U.S. companies, whereas the new one prevents U.S. investors from buying or selling its listed shares.

U.S. investors in SenseTime include Fidelity, Glade Brook, Qualcomm Ventures and Silver Lake. Other backers include Alibaba, SoftBank and Primavera Capital Group. The company originally planned to raise $2 billion in its IPO, but later cut its target back to $767 million.

The bottom line: SenseTime says the U.S. accusation are "unfounded" and that the delay is designed to let it update its prospectus. Retail investors who already subscribed to the IPO, which was expected to price this Friday, will have their fees, interest and other costs refunded.

Go deeper

Free press crackdowns intensify in Hong Kong

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Independent media is struggling to survive in Hong Kong, as the Chinese Communist Party looks to tighten its grip on pro-democracy voices.

Why it matters: Hong Kong's media environment, once among the freest in Asia, is growing gradually more similar to that of mainland China.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.