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Mass facial recognition boom led by the Chinese government will mean big money for Nvidia, UBS says

Key Points
  • UBS raises its price target to $285 from $266 for Nvidia shares, citing the company's leadership in the artificial intelligence market.
  • The firm predicts the "mass facial recognition and traffic monitoring" market will be an additional $5 billion sales opportunity for Nvidia by 2020.
Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, shows the NVIDIA Volta GPU computing platform at his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, January 7, 2018.
Rick Wilking | Reuters

Nvidia shares will rise as the chipmaker benefits from governments using artificial intelligence technology to monitor its citizens, according to a Wall Street firm.

UBS raised its price target to $285 from $266 for Nvidia shares, citing the company's leadership in the machine learning chip and software markets.

Nvidia offers its "Metropolis" platform, which enables governments to use its A.I. technology to analyze video feeds. The offering helps cities provide traffic monitoring, law enforcement and public safety services.

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"Our recent analysis of mass, real-time facial recognition in China, and its potential spread to other countries has uncovered a potential high-/mid-single digits growth tailwind for NVDA earnings," analyst Timothy Arcuri said in a note to clients Monday entitled "Deep Learning & Mass Surveillance: Tied at the Hip." "China to lead the way, but rest of world will use facial recognition too. … Adoption in China will be rapid because of government programs that require the deployment of a massive surveillance infrastructure. Real-time facial recognition to identify jaywalkers is already deployed at many Shenzen intersections."

The analyst predicts the "mass facial recognition and traffic monitoring" market will be an additional $5 billion sales opportunity for Nvidia by 2020. He estimated the company has nearly 90 percent share of the current A.I. chip market.

Arcuri reiterated his neutral rating for Nvidia shares due to the stock's valuation.

Nvidia shares are up 37 percent this year through Friday versus the S&P 500's 4 percent gain. The stock was down slightly in Monday's premarket.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.