Baidu says second-generation Kunlun AI chips enter mass production

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

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

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

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

US sanctions imposed on hardware maker Huawei prevented the Chinese telecommunications giant from acquiring components, including semiconductors, hurting its smartphone business.

Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercializing its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit an independent company, Reuters reported.

In March, Kunlun completed a fundraising round that valued the deal at around $2 billion (about INR 14,850 crores).

Baidu also operates another chip unit called the Honghu.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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