ByteDance went to Shenzhen to invest in a chip company for Metaverse

In Shenzhen, ByteDance has invested in a chip company.

The investment community has learned that ByteDance has invested in Guangzhou Semiconductor a few days ago Founded in January 2020, this company was co-founded by AR optics expert Zhu Yisheng and scientist Chu Daping, etc. It is well-known as semiconductor AR glasses. This is reminiscent of ByteDance’s acquisition of the VR hardware company Pico for 9 billion not long ago, and a picture of the meta-universe has been rolled out.

What’s more surprising is that ByteDance is intensively shooting the chip field: Since the beginning of this year, it has successively invested in a number of startup companies such as Sim Computing, Moore Thread, Runshi Technology, and Ruisixinke. The investment community is exclusively informed that ByteDance has just invested in a company that focuses on data center network chips, Yunmai Xinlian . The company has been established less than half a year ago . The founding team is from the data center network field and senior experts in chip research and development. DPU field.

More than byte beating, now Internet giants have entered the chip track. Baidu has just made its own Kunlun chip independent this year, with a valuation of 13 billion yuan; Tencent has also begun to recruit experts and talents in the chip field; Meituan is also actively launching a series of chip startups, not to mention Ali, Huawei, Millet. These giants turned and became the most active investment forces on the semiconductor track.

Just now, Bytedance made another move:

For the meta universe, invested in a chip company

This starts with an industrial and commercial change.

This week, Shenzhen Guangzhou Semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd. has undergone industrial and commercial changes, and Beijing Quantum Jump Technology Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of ByteDance, is a shareholder, holding 1.87% of the shares. At the same time, the company’s registered capital increased from RMB 2,997,200 to approximately RMB 3,431,200, an increase of approximately 14.48%.

ByteDance went to Shenzhen to invest in a chip company for Metaverse

Semiconductor light boat was founded in January 2020, is headquartered in Shenzhen, focus on diffractive optics and semi- conductor micro-nanofabrication technology , design and production of the AR display optical chips and modules, also owns the semiconductor AR glasses hardware products.

In other words, ByteDance has invested in a company that can develop diffractive optical chips- holographic diffractive optics is considered the future of AR optics, and AR optics is the core of AR hardware systems; the chips developed by Guangzhou Semiconductor can be used For hardware devices such as VR/AR, the company also launched semiconductor AR glasses hardware products. This wave of operations makes it hard not to remind people of the layout of the ByteDance for the meta universe.

The founder of Guangzhou Semiconductor is Zhu Yisheng, an AR optics expert. He graduated from Anhui University and worked for Huawei. In 2020, Zhu Yisheng and Professor Chu Daping founded Guangzhou Semiconductor. The latter obtained a master’s degree in physics from Nanjing University in 1986 and then went to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom to continue his studies. He developed the world’s first smectic A-type 150dpi Display and reflective color display using stacked configuration.

Guangzhou Semiconductor, which was established less than two years ago, has completed multiple rounds of financing. October 2020, Zhou semiconductor light obtained from a Star Branch , Sequoia China seed-based gold and Regent photo of the first round of financing; May this year, a new round of equity investment in place, investors include: deep venture capital, Huai Zezhongzhao Angel Fund, Time Bole, Greater Bay Area Common Home Development Fund , Sanqi Mutual Entertainment Venture Capital Fund , Qianhai Fund of Funds , ByteDance Strategic Investment Department , and Century Huatong .

Five months later, Bytedance once again threw an olive branch to Guangzhou Semiconductor. The joint investor also includes the Smart Internet Industry Fund, which is managed by China Telecom Group Investment Co., Ltd., Qianhai Ark Asset Management Co., Ltd., and China Internet Investment Fund. An equity investment fund jointly established by a limited company.

This year, Bytedance Scanning Chip Company

What is Zhang Yiming going to do?

Since the beginning of this year, ByteDance is making intensive efforts in the semiconductor field.

A month ago, also in Shenzhen, just beating bytes and Hillhouse joint venture led a RISC-V company Koch core subjects . This is a company that provides RISC-V high-end core processor solutions, founded in 2018. RISC-V is called the fifth-generation simplified instruction set. It is an open source chip architecture that can be used to develop unique chips that are more suitable for specific products and needs.

This round of financing amounted to tens of millions of US dollars. Other co-investors included Lenovo Ventures, Shuanghu Capital, Shuimu Investment Group, Zhen Fund, Northern Light Ventures, Baidu Ventures, etc. It is reported that Ruisixinke’s products are currently mainly used in consumer electronics audio and video fields and communications, and its chips are about to be mass-produced.

Earlier, Bytedance also successively invested in AI chip company Sim Computing , GPU chip design unicorn Moore Thread , pan-semiconductor industry intelligent manufacturer Runstone Technology and so on.

Among them, Moore Thread was founded in October 2020, and it has obtained two rounds of financing worth one billion yuan within 100 days of its establishment: The Pre-A round of financing in February this year was jointly funded by Shenzhen Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China Fund, and GGV. Leading the investment, China Merchants Venture Capital, ByteDance, Xiaoma Zhixing, Sunshine Ronghui Capital, Haisong Capital, Wuyuan Capital and other joint investment.

Of course, the “core” of byte beating does not rely solely on investment. In March of this year, a news that ByteDance is self-developing cloud AI chips and Arm server chips spread like wildfire. In this regard, the relevant person in charge of ByteDance responded to the outside world, saying: It is indeed setting up a relevant team to do some exploration in the field of AI chips.

This is the first time that BYTE has publicly shown its “chip” ambitions to the outside world. In addition, ByteDance has silently started relevant recruitment in the chip field, involving positions such as chip applications (ARM software and hardware optimization), chip CAD engineers, chip CAD engineers, and chip integrated engineers. Everything seems to be done step by step.

Strategic deployment, talents first . Attaching great importance to the byte beating of talent strategy, the layout in the chip field is also the same. It is reported that in July of this year, Bytedance intercepted three chip-related talents from Baidu. For Internet companies, the flow of personnel is understandable, but this at least shows that the end of the giant company’s core production has attracted. “Chip talent is hot.”

On August 12, ByteDance officially launched the 2022 campus recruitment, opening more than 1,400 jobs for college students, half of which are in research and development. In this autumn recruiting, fresh graduates are recruiting chip positions impressively: In Beijing and Shanhai, ByteDance officially recruits chip engineers, all of which are related to FPGA/ASIC and are in front-end design. At this point, Zhang Yiming’s chip layout is slowly unfolding.

A rare scene came:

Now, all the famous Internet giants have entered the chip 

So the question is, why does ByteDance work so hard on the chip?

The answer may be seen from two perspectives. On the one hand, for its own business, whether it is its Toutiao or Douyin, when the 5G era arrives, it will inevitably carry more content, and this content needs the support of server chips such as data centers and edge computing. . In April 2018, Yang Zhenyuan, Vice President of Bytedance, said that Bytedance has the world’s largest number of users uploading videos that require analysis, understanding and processing. The platform recommendation engine also requires powerful machine learning computing power, and there is a very large number of chip purchases and application. Coupled with the explosion of Meta Universe this year, chips are also important as an important part of AR, VR and other landing hardware.

On the other hand, under the impact of AI, the chip industry has already opened a gap, hardware demand continues to emerge, global computing is entering a golden age of architecture innovation , and the chip industry chain is also becoming more and more perfect. good time. If ByteDance does not make a move at this time, I am afraid it will fall behind the Internet giants.

As early as July 2018, Baidu released the cloud-based full-function AI chip ” Kunlun “. In June of this year, Baidu announced the establishment of an independent new company for its Kunlun chip business, called Kunlun Core (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd., and Ouyang Jian, the chief architect of Baidu Chip, became the CEO of Kunlun Chip Company. In addition, the company completed in March this year, independent financing, lead investor side to CPE source peak , investors, including IDG capital, jun of the capital, Wo Yuan Hua Pu , etc., valued about 130 Yi yuan.

Not only Baidu, Tencent has also quietly deployed. In November 2016, Tencent participated in a $23 million Series C financing of programmable chip company Barefoot Networks. Then in 2018, Tencent led the 340 million yuan Pre-A round of financing from AI chip company Suiyuan Technology, and continued to raise it in 2019 and this year.

In July this year, Tencent released a large number of recruitment information on its official website, mainly recruiting chip professionals, such as chip design engineers, chip architecture engineers and so on. In this regard, based on the needs of certain businesses, it will try chip development in specific areas, such as AI acceleration and video encoding and decoding, which are not general-purpose chips.

Of course, Huawei, Xiaomi, Ali and Meituan have also joined the semiconductor army, which is regarded as one of the signs of the semiconductor 2.0 era. “I communicated with Huawei five years ago to remind them to invest and support the domestic industrial chain, but they are still a step behind.” Chen Datong, the managing partner of Yuanhe Puhua, once pointed out that the so-called 2.0 era is an industry In the era when every member of the chain supports each other, cooperates with each other, and keeps together, and using their respective platforms to establish funds to invest in semiconductors, they can better deploy and integrate. This will be a trend.

As we all know, the advantages of Internet giants are their own AI processing needs and strong financial strength. Therefore, it is a natural choice to decide to conduct self-developed chips. However, the disadvantages are also obvious. On the one hand, they do not have enough experience, and the cost-effectiveness of chip products may be relatively low; on the other hand, the main customer may be their own, and it takes time to judge whether they can develop into economies of scale.

“The joining of these Internet companies can indeed bring some innovative ideas, but it does not mean that Internet companies can achieve universal success in the chip field. In the end, only a very few giants with top technology will remain.” Chen Datong reminds.

In any case, a core-making movement has already begun.

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