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Tencent pumps funds into Chinese AI Chipmaker



Tencent has actually pumped more cash into a Chinese expert system (AI) chip start-up as the technology giant bets on the growing domestic market for semiconductors.


It comes as Beijing promotes more self-reliance in semiconductors in the middle of competitions between the U.S. and China that have actually spilt into the technology front.


Tencent together with a variety of investors consisting of CITIC, CICC Capital and Primavera invested 1.8 billion yuan ($278.5 million) in Shanghai-headquartered Enflame Innovation. The start-up has received various rounds of financing from Tencent.


Enflame Innovation makes chips designed to process big quantities of information to train expert system systems. The chips are created for information centers.


Over the past few years, China has actually been seeking to ramp up its abilities in both AI and semiconductors as the tech war with the U.S. continues.


Chips are an essential strategic focus for Beijing which is aiming to wean itself off American technology. Washington has looked to harm China's aspirations, blacklisting SMIC, the largest semiconductor manufacturer in China.


While Enflame Technology is still little, innovative start-ups will be crucial to China's broader goals in chips.


China's efforts in AI chips are nascent compared to business such as chip giants NVIDIA and AMD in the U.S


. However start-ups are raising money to pursue advancement. In 2015, Cambricon Technologies raised 2.58 billion yuan in an initial public offering in Shanghai.


Tencent's support of Enflame Innovation also highlights another pattern-- China's innovation giants are investing in the semiconductor market.


Tencent is best understood for software application such as mobile video gaming or its popular messaging app WeChat. Nevertheless, it has a small but growing cloud computing organization where Enflame's chips could be of use.


In 2019, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba released its first chip to power AI procedures. And search company Baidu started production of its own AI chip called Kunlun 1 in 2015.

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