Baidu’s AI chip unit Kunlun has been spun off as a standalone company led by the company’s chief chip architect Ouyang Jian as CEO. Kunlun raised fresh funds in a March financing round valuing the business at RMB 13 billion (USD 2 billion). The investment was led by CITIC Private Equity Funds Management, IDG Capital, and Legend Capital.
Kunlun’s integrated circuits are mostly used in Baidu’s smart electric vehicles under Jidu Auto as well as cloud computing technologies, focusing on edge computing, deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing. Kunlun’s first chips were mass produced in early 2020, while its second-generation chip will be rolled out in the second half of 2021, with more than three times the processing power of its predecessor.
The demand for AI chips is massive, driven by the increasing computing requirements in everything from mobile phones and data centers to smart cars, Ouyang explained. Now the company is expanding its commercialization opportunities. On April 23, Baidu and Kunlun established an AI data center in cooperation with the Yichang government in Hubei province to improve its core infrastructure.
“Going forward, Kunlun will continue to develop its R&D capabilities in the AI chip sector, and will work closely with Baidu to develop and integrate its AI technology. The company integrates high-performance computing into various industrial sectors, upgrading and empowering more enterprises,” Baidu said in a statement.
36Kr Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Su Jianxun for 36Kr.