UPDATE 1-China's SenseTime valued at $4.5 bln after $600 mln funding led by Alibaba -sources

Alibaba -sources@

* Investors include China's Suning.Com, Singapore's Temasek

* SenseTime says it is now world's most valuable AI platform

* Funding comes as government targets AI tech top spot (Adds valuation from sources, context)

HONG KONG, April 9 (Reuters) - Chinese facial recognition technology developer SenseTime Group Ltd has closed a $600 million funding round led by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, bringing its value to around $4.5 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The fundraising comes during a government push to make China an international leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2025, by which time it aims to grow core AI industries' value to 400 billion yuan ($63.33 billion).

SenseTime closed its series-C fundraising round having attracted investors including Chinese e-commerce company Suning.Com Co Ltd and Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, it said in a statement on Monday.

The company did not disclose its valuation, but said it is now the world's most valuable AI platform. It also said it set a world record for the amount raised in a single funding round by an AI firm.

The two people who disclosed the current valuation declined to be identified as the matter was private. A SenseTime spokeswoman declined to comment on the valuation due to ongoing fundraising.

Dual-based in Beijing and Hong Kong, SenseTime develops applications for facial recognition, video analysis and other areas including autonomous driving. Existing investors include U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.

It is enjoying fast growth as both the private and public sectors upgrade to advanced technologies. It is engaged in as many as 14 sectors, and lists various police departments across China as major clients.

Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said in the statement, "We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment."

In July, SenseTime raised $410 million in series-B funding led by China's CDH Investments and state-backed fund Sailing Capital, which valued the startup at over $1.5 billion. ($1 = 6.3160 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Sijia Jiang Editing by Christopher Cushing)