Baidu says second generation Kunlun AI chips are going into mass production

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Chinese tech giant Baidu said Wednesday it had started mass production of second-generation Kunlun artificial intelligence (AI) chips in an effort to become a major player in the chip industry that Beijing seeks to empower.

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

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

Chinese tech giants are stepping up efforts to develop their own chips to show China’s ambition to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers like Qualcomm and Nvidia.

US sanctions against hardware maker Huawei have prevented the Chinese telecommunications giant from sourcing components like semiconductors, paralyzing its smartphone business.

Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercializing its AI chip design capabilities with the aim of making the Kunlun entity a stand-alone company, Reuters reported.

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

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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