Chinese GPU/AI ‘unicorn’ formed to take on Nvidia

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The company’s mission is to build a computing platform in the field of visual computing and artificial intelligence in China and develop world-leading GPU intellectual property. In other words to compete with Nvidia, which is reckoned to have about 80 percent of this market in China.

The core of the company has come from GPU/AI leader Nvidia, but engineers have also been recruited from Microsoft, Intel, AMD, ARM and other major technology companies, Moore Threads said in a statement. The company has been described by one investor as having the “most complete professional IC team in China.”

Executives names have not been revealed although one person who it is speculated might be the founder and CEO is James Zhang, who, it is reported, resigned from Nvidia in September 2020 when he was general manager of Nvidia’s Greater China business.

Moore Threads describes its anonymous founder thus: “The founder of the company has been deeply involved in the industry for more than 15 years. He has led the world’s top chip companies to successfully develop and establish a complete GPU ecosystem in China and promote the Chinese market to become the company’s most important market in the world.”

Whoever the founder is, in two rounds of seed funding he has raised “several” billions of yuan, according to local reports. With one billion yuan equivalent to about US$150 million it can be seen that the company likely has more than $500 million and a valuation in excess of $1 billion.

The funding came from Shenzhen Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China Fund, GGV Jiyuan Capital and another 12 venture capital firms plus other unnamed investors.

“Moore Threads brings together many system architects and graphics technology R&D scientists with rich experience in GPU R&D and design, as well as the most experienced chip design team and GPU ecology and industry marketing experts who have helped Nvidia succeed in China,” said Gu Lan, of Shenzhen Venture Capital, in a statement issued by Moore Threads.

Gu Lan said Nvidia’s market share in China had moved from 50 percent in 2008 to 80 percent in 2020 at the expense of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and others.

In the same statement Zhou Kui, a partner of Sequoia Capital China Fund, said: “Moore Threads has the world’s top modern GPU architecture design team. Its chief technology officer has led and participated in the design and research and development of the latest architecture of the world’s top GPU companies. Moore Thread has attracted many senior engineers with more than 10 years of experience in the fields of GPU drivers, compilation, AI chips, software algorithms, and system design, and has built the most complete professional IC team in China.”

Liu Hongbin, general manager of venture capital at investor China Merchants, made the point that the graphics processing unit (GPU) and variants of application-specific processors drive all emerging technology including: visual computing, biological computing, artificial intelligence, digital twins, virtual reality, animation games, industrial design, analog simulation, autonomous driving, cloud computing and other fields.

The pre-A round of financing included Shenzhen Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China Fund, GGV Jiyuan Capital, China Merchants Venture Capital, Bytedance, Xiaoma Zhixing, Ronghui Capital, Haisong Capital, Famous Investment, No. 1 Venture, Wuyuan Capital, Heertai, Minghao and others.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

China GPU-to-AI startup lands $50 million funding

Opinion: China has had its way with Imagination

Automotive sector helps AI chip startup raise $50 million
















Linked Articles
eeNews Europe