Meet Cloudwalk, the Super Unicorn of New Retail in China

They are the members of super unicorn club, or sometimes we call them the four dragons of China’s AI computer vision.

Among them, Cloudwalk is a company particularly powered by the public fund from the government. This has catapulted it into an extremely competitive advantage.  We already mentioned this unicorn in our previous blog (see link here). Today the company is the largest vendor of facial recognition technology for leading domestic banks as well as major airports in China. Last month it even signed a big contract to provide the government of Zimbabwe with a mass facial recognition system and an ID database.

But the ambition of the Cloudwalk is far from over. Recently the company rolled out an end to end digital transformation solution for the traditional brick&mortar, covering camera retail analytics, interactive digital signage, smart shelf, smart POS terminal etc, although everything does not sound brilliantly new, to be honest.


Alibaba, Tencent, or other mid to small players already have been vigorously vying for the market share as the new retail solution provider, however, the prospect does not intimidate Cloudwalk at all. Its core strategy is “winning by losing”. For instance, if a store would like to install a camera-centric in-store analytics, Cloudwalk would charge

  • a fixed cost of USD227 for a facial recognition camera at the entrance of every store
  • regarding tracking and analyze customer activities inside the store, Cloudwalk can leverage the existing CCTV or surveillance cameras at zero cost
  • the subscription fees of the dashboard analysis are priced at only USD150 per year per store

Cloudwalk told they know retailers usually have a limited budget to implement a fully digitalized concept store, and that is why they are trying to push down the pricing of hardware&software as low as possible. The goal is not about making money in this new arena at the moment, but about getting their feet into the niche and collect sufficient consumer data.

But can Cloudwalk really win over the ever-growing muscle of Alibaba’s new retail solution and step on the toes of Alibaba’s facial recognition payment? Or Cloudwalk simply walks on the thin air of its retail aggression?


By: Cecilia Wu