Blacklisted firm approved to purchase U.S. medical devices

The partially state-owned artificial intelligence and voice recognition firm iFlyTek is in the process of purchasing medical devices from the United States, the company announced (in Chinese) on Monday in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. According to the Global Times, these devices include eye goggles, face masks, and infrared thermometers to be used for its staff and donations in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

iFlyTek’s AI technology is being used to screen individuals for COVID-19, according to the company. Its health check platform can directly call and speak to individuals, and will reportedly increase the efficiency of coronavirus screening by up to five times.

The company has also developed online learning platforms for quarantined students throughout China. It joins other tech companies such as Meituan, Tencent, and Alibaba, which have made over $429 million in donations to help the Chinese government contain the virus.

Because it was placed on the U.S. Entity List in the spring of 2019, iFlyTek had to apply for — and was granted — approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce to purchase the U.S. medical devices.

—Caroline Stetson