Baidu’s AI chip unit Kunlun completes new funding, at $2b valuation

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Chinese search giant Baidu Inc said on Monday that its artificial intelligence chip unit Kunlun recently completed a round of fundraising, which according to one source with direct knowledge of the matter values the business at about $2 billion.

The fundraising, which comes as the company pushes forward with AI chip design and manufacturing ambitions, was led by Chinese private equity firm CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE), the source said. Other investors include IDG Capital, Legend Capital and an industry fund Oriza Hua, the person added.

Kunlun chip business has recently completed a round of financing. We will release more information in due course,” Baidu said in a statement sent to Reuters on Monday, declining to comment on the investors, fundraising amount or valuation.

CPE, IDG, Legend Capital and Oriza Hua’s parent Suzhou Oriza Holdings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The source declined to be named as the information is not public.

Kunlun chips are currently used mostly by Baidu on smart electric vehicles and cloud computing.

Baidu is considering commercializing its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit a standalone company, according to the source.

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

Last week, Nasdaq-listed Baidu began raising a targeted $3 billion as part of its plan for a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Reuters

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.

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.