Chinese tech giant Baidu said on Wednesday it had begun mass-producing Kunlun second-generation artificial intelligence (AI) chips as it races to become a major player in the chip industry Beijing seeks to bolster.
The new-generation Kunlun AI chips, which use 7nm process technology, achieved two to three times the computing power of 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 design their own chips as a sign of China’s ambition to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Nvidia.
US sanctions against hardware maker Huawei have prevented the Chinese telecom giant from sourcing components, including semiconductors, crippling its smartphone business.
Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercializing its AI chip design capabilities, with the goal of making the Kunlun unit a standalone company, Reuters reported.
In March, Kunlun completed a fundraising round that valued the company at approximately $2 billion (approximately Rs. 14,850 crores).
Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.
© Thomson Reuters 2021