Baidu Says Second Generation Kunlun AI Chips Enter Mass Production

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 and Nvidia.

US sanctions imposed on hardware maker Huawei 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 (roughly Rs. 14,850 crores).

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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