Kunlun, the AI chip unit of internet giant Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), has reportedly reached a valuation of USD 2 billion after a new round of funding. CITIC Private Equity Funds Management was leading the fundraising that was joined by a group of investors including IDG Capital and Legend Capital, an unidentified source told Reuters.
Parent company Baidu meanwhile kicked off its secondary listing at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with the objective to raise some USD 3.6 billion as an “ecological AI company,” instead of the “search engine, knowledge, and information-centered internet platform” it is most known for.
Back in the 2000s, Baidu was one of China’s three internet giants, alongside Alibaba and Tencent. But the company fell behind its peers in the mobile internet revolution, until its high-tech businesses—driverless vehicles, cloud computing, and AI chips—started lifting its stock price since mid-last year.
In the latest financial report, Baidu revealed the plan to begin mass production of the Kunlun II AI chip in 2021, for use in search, industrial AI, and smart transportation.
At the same time, the firm’s revenue hasn’t changed much over the past three years, increasing from USD 15.9 billion in 2018 to USD 16.6 billion in 2020, while online marketing services still contributed 68% of the group’s earnings last year.
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Key Stat” series, where KrASIA picks and presents the most significant figures of the day’s technology and business world.