Baidu starts producing Kunlun artificial intelligence (AI) chips

Baidu said on Wednesday it started producing second-generation Kunlun artificial intelligence (AI) chips, as it races to become a key player in the chip industry.
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The new generation of Kunlun AI chips, using 7 nm process technology, achieved a top computational capability two-to-three times the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

Kunlun chips, whose first generation entered mass production in early 2020, have been used mostly by Baidu in smart electric vehicles and cloud computing.

Chinese technology giants are stepping up efforts to design their own chips in a sign of China’s ambition to reduce its dependence on foreign producers such as Qualcomm and Nvidia.

U.S. sanctions imposed on Huawei Technologies have prevented the telecom giant from sourcing components including semiconductors, crippling its smartphone business.

Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercialising its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit a standalone company, Reuters has reported. read more

In March, Kunlun completed a round of fundraising that valued the business at about $2 billion.

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.