China’s Baidu says 2nd-gen Kunlun AI chips enter mass production

Photographer: Bloomberg

Chinese tech giant Baidu said on Wednesday it had begun mass-producing second-generation Kunlun artificial intelligence (AI) chips, as it races to become a key player in the chip industry which Beijing is trying to strengthen.

The new generation of Kunlun AI chips, using 7 nm process technology, achieved a top computational capability two-to-three times the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

Kunlun chips, whose first generation entered mass production in early 2020, have been used mostly by Baidu in smart electric vehicles and cloud computing.

Chinese technology giants are stepping up efforts to design their own chips in a sign of China’s ambition to reduce its dependence on foreign producers such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp.

U.S. sanctions imposed on hardware maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd have prevented the Chinese telecom giant from sourcing components including semiconductors, crippling its smartphone business.

Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercialising its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit a standalone company, Reuters has reported.

In March, Kunlun completed a round of fundraising that valued the business at about $2 billion.

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.