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Employees walk through a lobby at Baidu’s headquarters in Beijing on March 4, 2021. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese online search giant Baidu’s AI chip unit Kunlun completes new funding, said to be at US$2 billion valuation

  • Kunlun chips are currently used by Baidu on smart electric vehicles and cloud computing
  • The fundraising was said to be led by Citic Private Equity Funds Management
Chinese online search giant Baidu said on Monday that its artificial intelligence (AI) chip unit Kunlun recently completed a round of fundraising, which according to one source with direct knowledge of the matter values the business at about US$2 billion.

The fundraising, which comes as Baidu pushes forward its AI chip design plans, was led by Chinese private equity firm Citic Private Equity Funds Management (CPE), the source said. Other investors include IDG Capital, Legend Capital and an industry fund Oriza Hua, the person added.

“Kunlun chip business has recently completed a round of financing,” Baidu said in a statement on Monday, declining to comment on the investors, fundraising amount or valuation. “We will release more information in due course.”

CPE, IDG, Legend Capital and Oriza Hua’s parent Suzhou Oriza Holdings did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The source declined to be named as the information is not public.

Baidu seeks up to US$3.6 billion in Hong Kong share sale as fundraising in city reaches a record in first two months of the year

Kunlun chips are currently used mostly by Baidu on smart electric vehicles and cloud computing.

Baidu is considering commercialising its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit a stand-alone company, according to the source.

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

Last week, Nasdaq-listed Baidu began raising a target of more than US$3 billion as part of its plan for a secondary listing in Hong Kong.