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ByteDance to design AI chips amid China’s tech independence drive

Written by Song Jingli Published on     1 min read

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The owner of TikTok and Douyin is recruiting semiconductor talent in Beijing and Shanghai.

Chinese short video giant ByteDance has started to develop cloud AI and server chips based on ARM architecture, Semiinsights.com reported on Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The company, which owns TikTok and Douyin, has been recruiting semiconductor talent to be based in Beijing and Shanghai for about one month, information on recruitment site Liepin shows. ByteDance declined to comment when contacted by KrASIA on Tuesday.

The company last month participated in the pre-Series A round of GPU startup Moore Threads, contributing part of the RMB 1 billion cash. It marks another tech giant’s pivot towards the semiconductor sector amid the China’s call to invest in cut-throat technologies rather than on simple monetization of user traffic.

The cloud AI market is dominated by Nvidia and Intel, according to ABI Research, and could reach USD 19.1 billion in 2024.

Alibaba in July 2019 launched the XuanTie 910 processor and teamed up with integrated circuit designer Allwinner one year later with the objective to ship 50 million chips in three years. In addition, Alibaba released the AI inference chip Hanguang 800 in September 2019, but for internal use only.

Baidu plans to mass produce its Kunlun II AI chip later this year, to be used in search, industrial AI, and smart transportation. The Kunlun unit, that has already been spun off, just closed a financing round, which valued the firm at USD 2 billion.

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