In the previous article, the editor reported the influence of Baidu’s self-developed chip “Kunlun” second generation, and also introduced the semiconductor layout of Baidu and Tencent. The editor previously believed that Tencent was investing in the semiconductor industry with precision, but now it seems that Tencent is taking a bigger step-Tencent announced three self-developed chips, which are oriented in different directions and have classical Chinese names: Zixiao, Canghai, Xuanling.
These three chips under development are oriented in three directions: Zixiao positioning AI reasoning, Canghai positioning video transcoding, and Xuanling positioning smart network card. These three chips are claimed to have higher performance than similar solutions in the industry. At present, since the chip is still in the research and development stage, and the parameters are still kept secret, we have no way of knowing the authenticity of the performance. However, one thing is certain, the chip under development must be more advanced in performance and power consumption than the mature chip put on the market.
Tencent may have started to develop self-developed chips a few years ago (currently confidential), but its pace is obviously slower than that of Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu. As one of the few Internet/tech giants in China, Tencent has finally joined the army of domestic self-developed chips. The announcement this time is not a product with high industrial technology content such as CPU, GPU, and integrated SoC, but as a peripheral chip in a motherboard or SoC. This also confirms that Tencent has just started in semiconductor hardware.
But as long as it catches up with the pace of domestic self-research at the current trend, it is not too late. Huawei has invested nearly ten years to release the first HiSilicon chip with Huawei D1 mobile phone in 2012: HiSilicon K3V2. After eight years of polishing, in the second half of 2019, the Kirin 9000 chip was released with Huawei’s Mate 40 series of mobile phones. At the time of its release, this chip became Android’s strongest chip in terms of performance, power consumption, and communication. Alibaba’s progress is much faster.Acquired by Alibaba in 2018
Zhongtian Microsystems Co., Ltd., and then integrated with the self-developed chip business of its own DAMO Academy, established Pingtouge Semiconductor Co., Ltd. In less than a year, they released the “Xuantie” 910 chip. This chip was known as one of the strongest RISC-V architecture chips at the time. Just on November 4th this year, Brother Pingtou released the latest self-developed chip: “Yitian” 710 chip.
Ali revealed that this chip will be used in its own data center and is not currently planning to sell. Ali Pingtou, who is rarely exposed by the media, has already sold more than 1 billion in the field of IoT chips. Let’s talk about Baidu. Baidu’s chip layout was earlier. In 2010, they began to use FPGA chips to develop AI architectures. On August 18 this year, Baidu’s second-generation “Kunlun” artificial intelligence chip was released, causing a media uproar. From the above examples, it is not difficult to see that companies that started R&D early have already tasted the sweetness and have a large number of R&D resources; companies that entered the semiconductor late, in terms of architecture, process, scheduling and tuning, and even EDA design tools In terms of aspects, it has more advanced advantages. After the company has invested heavily in capital and human and material resources, the results are also good. So we say that Tencent’s joining is not too late.
From the above examples, it is not difficult to see that after various domestic technology companies joined the semiconductor camp successively, their product lines basically do not overlap, which also reflects that each company has adopted the strategy of “avoiding its edge and keeping a low profile”. This time Tencent entered the game and announced three peripheral chips first. If the progress is smooth, the team expands, and huge investment is injected, it may be able to bring heavyweight results in the future.
Whether it is the wave of chip design waves of various domestic technology manufacturers, the emergence of various products, or the industry and even the country investing huge amounts of money to stimulate the development of the domestic semiconductor industry, the domestic weakness is actually still in chip manufacturing. Domestic enterprises or units cannot come up with advanced chip manufacturing equipment, we can only rely on foundries outside the region, and the stability of all this is based on relative peace. No one can guarantee everlasting peace. We can only pin our hopes on domestic scientific and technological workers, and perhaps only they can make the domestic semiconductor industry bloom brilliantly.