Chinese startup Cambricon gets new funding to push 7nm chips for ChatGPT-like applications

China-based AI chip startup Cambricon Technologies, already listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Sci-Tech Innovation Board, recently received approval to list A shares worth CNY1.672 billion (US$244.087 million). to issue specific target investors, according to market sources, to develop related chip solutions related to the fast-growing concept of AIGC (AI-generated content) and related applications such as ChatGPT.

After deducting issuance costs, Cambricon will use the net proceeds to support its advanced process chip platform projects, develop general-purpose intelligent processors for various emerging applications such as AIGC and replenish the company’s liquidity, the sources said.

So far, Cambricon has established a 7nm process chip design platform and also realized advanced multi-chiplet packaging. It also independently developed the MLU-Link multi-chiplet connection technology.

The company has developed a variety of AI chips with process nodes ranging from 7-28nm, all of which have achieved remarkable sales scale, especially for smart edge computing applications. Its MUL 220 deep learning SoC, an AI acceleration product for edge computing use cases, has been adopted by several enterprise customers and has already sold over one million units since its launch in November 2019.

Cambricon’s revenue for 2022 should increase slightly year-on-year to CNY725-750 million, but losses for the year should reach CNY1.035-1.265 billion, up 25.46%-53.34% year-on-year , according to the latest financial opinion.

The company also estimated its asset impairment at CNY108-132 million by the end of 2022, up 340.48-438.38% year-on-year, partly due to its inventory of smart edge computing chips Sales of end-of-life cloud computing chips have risen and partially declined due to lower-than-expected sales.

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Meanwhile, industry observers said that steady breakthroughs in AI technology are driving the global AI industry into a rapid development phase, and the recent emergence of ChatGPT has highlighted the new potential of AI applications, with the prospect of the AIGC market becoming an explosive one will experience growth soon.

In response, many Chinese companies are expanding their investments in the AIGC space, including Baidu, Tencent YouTu, Alibaba, KuaiShou Technology, ByteDance, NetEase, SenseTime, and iFLYTEK, among others.

Besides Cambricon, Chinese companies committed to developing AI computing power include Montage Technology, ZTE, Eoptolink Technology, TFC Optical Communication, Bsosight Software and Zhongji Innolight.

In terms of related software development, iFLYTEK, TRS Information Technology, Speech Ocean, CloudWalk and SenseTime are actively involved in the development of natural language processing technologies, while Baidu, BlueFocus, Visual China and Kunlun are dedicated to AIGC algorithms or related databases.

AI is expected to bring huge growth opportunities for some of China’s key industries by 2030, particularly smart vehicles, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, life sciences and enterprise software, according to industry watchers.