Baidu Inc. announced Monday, March 15, 2021, that it had successfully raised funding for its artificial intelligence chip unit Kunlun. Following this, Reuters reports that the chip in question is now valued at a whopping $2 billion after the said funding round.
Baidu Inc. is a search giant based in China. Besides providing search engine capabilities to the nation, Silicon Angle states that the company also provides other Internet-related services to its users.
It has since expanded its operations towards dabbling in artificial intelligence chip design as well as manufacturing processes, one of which is Kunlun. Kunlun is a type of AI chip unit that is designed to provide power to cloud computing services, notes Silicon Angle.
The chip is built on Baidu Inc.’s very own neural processor called XPU. This is combined with Samsung’s 14-nanometer process technology and fused with the I-Cube (Interposer-Cube) package solution, reports Capacity.
The investment round was led by CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE), a Chinese equity firm, notes Reuters. Apart from this, other investors also took part in the said funding round. These include the likes of IDG Capital, Legend Capital, and Oriza Hua, an industry fund.
According to Reuters, a source familiar with the matter revealed these details. The source, however, wished to remain anonymous. While the Chinese search giant confirmed the recent funding round with Reuters, the company declined to disclose not only those who invested in the firm, but also how much the AI chip unit has raised.
In a statement to Reuters, the company said, “Kunlun chip business has recently completed a round of financing. We will release more information in due course.”
As of writing, artificial intelligence chips are being utilized in a variety of smart electric vehicles on top of cloud computer devices and services. In time, the company aims to make a separate company based on its Kunlun unit alone.
Should Kunlun become a standalone company, Capacity reveals that Baidu Inc. is well on its way to commercializing its product and operations.
Based on the article released by the news site Capacity, Baidu Inc. previously announced its plans at the 2020 Annual ABC Summit of making a widespread production of its Kunlun II AI Chip. This allows its artificial intelligence chop to be used not just on smart transportation, but also for search-related needs and on an industrial level AI.
In addition to Kunlun, Baidu Inc. has yet another AI chip design unit. Called Honghu, the second artificial intelligence chip unit is designed to meet the growing demand for its own microprocessors, reveals Silicon Angle.