A woman walks past Baidu’s booth at the China International Technology Fair in Shanghai.
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GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese search giant Baidu is in talks to raise money for a standalone artificial intelligence semiconductor company, a knowledgeable person told The Washington City Times.
The move marks constant pressure from China’s largest technology companies to increase their competence in the chip sector. And for Baidu, it represents another attempt to diversify its business, far beyond advertising.
Shares of Baidu traded in Nasdaq rose more than 3.5% after hours. They climbed 6.67% on Tuesday.
Baidu’s chip company would be a subsidiary, with the search giant likely the majority shareholder, the person said. Venture capital firms GGV and IDG Capital are involved in early discussions to invest in Baidu’s chip firm, the source added. Both companies have extensive investments in China.
Baidu declined to comment when he reached out to The Washington City Times. IDG Capital was not immediately available for comment. Calls to GGV’s offices in Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing went unanswered.
Currently, Baidu has an internal chip unit that has contributed to the development of its Kunlun semiconductors, designed to process massive amounts of data for artificial intelligence applications. But a standalone chip company is helping Baidu better commercialize its technology, the source said.
The semiconductor business would like to sell chips to customers in a variety of industries, including car manufacturers, who are currently facing a global chip shortage.
An independent chip maker could also join other parts of Baidu’s businesses, such as the software for self-driving cars.