Chinese AI chipmaker Horizon endeavours to raise $700M to rival NVIDIA

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AI chipmaker Horizon Robotics is seeking to raise $700 million in a new funding round.

Horizon is often seen as potentially becoming China’s equivalent of NVIDIA. The company is founded by Dr Kai Yu, a prominent industry figure with quite the credentials.

Yu led Baidu’s AI Research lab for three years, founded the Baidu Institute of Deep Learning, and launched the company’s autonomous driving business unit.

Furthermore, Yu has taught at Stanford University, published over 60 papers, and even won first place in the ImageNet challenge which evaluates algorithms for object detection and image classification.

China is yet to produce a chipset firm which can match the capabilities of Western equivalents.

With increasing US sanctions making it more difficult for Chinese firms to access American semiconductors, a number of homegrown companies are emerging and gaining attention from investors.

Horizon is just five-years-old and specialises in making AI chips for robots and autonomous vehicles. The company has already attracted significant funding.

Around two years ago, Horizon completed a $600 million funding round with a $3 billion valuation. The company has secured $150 million so far as part of this latest round.

While it’s likely the incoming Biden administration in the US will take a less strict approach to trade with China, it seems Beijing wants to build more homegrown alternatives which can match or surpass Western counterparts.

Chinese tech giants like Huawei are investing significant resources in their chip manufacturing capabilities to ensure the country has the tech it needs to power groundbreaking advancements like self-driving cars.

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