China chip startup nets $100 million Series A

August 25, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Cambricon Technologies Corp. Ltd. (Beijing, China) is a machine learning chip startup that has received $100 million in a Series A round of finance, according to local reports.

eeNews Europe was unable to verify the facts with the company, which did not respond to email prior to publication.

Cambricon, founded in 2016, has developed and reported at the 43rd International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) on a prototype version of its architecture called the Cambricon-1A. The company claims that its instruction set architecture (ISA) for neural networks is optimized for a broader set of both complex and pruned neural network architectures therefore making it superior to general-purpose ISAs, general-purpose GPUs and other neural network accelerators that end to address only a few neural network architectures.

The latest investment was led by SDIC Chuangye Investment Management, a subsidiary of State Development & Investment Corp. Alibaba, Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, China Academy of Sciences Investment Management Co. Ltd., Chinese big data firm Turing, Oriza Seed Venture Capital and Yonghua Capital also participated in the round, according to reports.

The reports said the latest round of funding will be used to create cloud computing platforms and the commercialization of devices for smartphones and wearables presumably using more aggressive manufacturing process technologies.

Cambricon was  founded in 2016 by Chen Tianshi, a professor at the Institute Of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy Of Sciences. In the same year Cambricon received CNY100 million (about $15 million) in licensing fees for the instruction set of its Cambricon-1A from makers of smartphones and wearable devices, according to a Digitimes report.

The Digitimes article speculates that the Kirin 970 chip from Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon that is due to launch in September 2017, will include a Cambricon-1A processor core.

Related links and articles:

www.cambricon.com

News articles:

Report: Apple working on neural processor

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Reports: ARM agrees to create Chinese IP firm

ARM's soft launch for machine learning library

Tower confirms Chinese fab project

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