With a valuation of more than 10 billion yuan, the AI chip giant plans to go public on science and technology innovation board in Cambrian

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 With a valuation of more than 10 billion yuan, the AI chip giant plans to go public on science and technology innovation board in Cambrian


Founded by Chen Tianshi and Chen Yunji, both of them graduated from the junior class of CUHK. In the past few years, Cambrian has developed rapidly. The company has successively obtained strategic investment from Alibaba, iFLYTEK, Lenovo, TCL and other well-known companies, with a valuation of more than 10 billion yuan.

Cambrian provided HUAWEI with AI chip IP, which contributed to the main income of Cambrian. Analysts pointed out. Previously, Huaweis Kirin 970 and Kirin 980 chips all use Cambrian NPU (neural network unit), while Huaweis flagship mobile phones (mate10, P20, mate20, etc.) are equipped with the above two chips.

However, in June 2019, Huawei released a new high-end chip, Kirin 810, which uses self-developed Da Vinci architecture NPU. Huaweis shift to its own products has also subtly changed the role of Cambrian suppliers.

There is a long way to go

Cambrian science and technology innovation board to market early signs. In March 2019, the science and technology innovation board was still in full swing. Liu Qingfeng, chairman of iFLYTEK, revealed to the media that the Cambrian is exploring the possibility of landing on the scientific and technological innovation board. However, this claim was later denied by Cambrian.

There are no plans to become a public company, let alone an IPO. Its more than 18000 miles away from the science and technology innovation board. Cambrian public relations personage once said that even Liu Qingfengs statement was only known because of the medias confirmation. Now, after a round trip, Cambrian is finally ready to go to the science and technology innovation board.

If we follow the listing standards of the main board and the growth enterprise market, it is difficult for Cambrian to meet the examination standards of the CSRC, but the science and technology innovation board provides the possibility for its listing. According to one insider. Since its establishment in 2016, Cambrian has carried out multiple rounds of financing, and the companys valuation has increased from angel round $100 million, round a $1 billion to round B $2.5 billion.

After multiple rounds of financing, there are many shareholders in Cambrian. In addition to the actual controller and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, there are a number of funds with state-owned background, as well as listed companies represented by Alibaba, iFLYTEK, Lenovo, TCL technology, etc., and securities funds represented by CITIC Securities and CICC.

The production and sales of AI chips were the main focus of Cambrian, and now the development of artificial intelligence technology is in full swing. AI chip is the cornerstone of carrying AI technology, which will be deployed in the cloud and edge market in the future. According to iResearch, the overall market size of AI chips will exceed 300 billion yuan by 2022.

Today, Cambrian AI chips have penetrated into mobile phones, smart glasses, bracelets and other terminal products, used to identify images, audio-visual and text. IFLYTEK, Zhongke Shuguang, Ali, Lenovo and other well-known cloud customers are also Cambrian partners.

Delicate relationship with key customer Huawei

The two brothers, Chen Yunji and Chen Tianshi, the founders of Cambrian, graduated from the junior class of CUHK. The story of Chen brothers entrepreneurship has been reported in the media for many times.

In 2002, Chen Yunji, 19, graduated from the junior class of the University of science and technology, and went to the Institute of computer science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His mentor is Dr. Hu Weiwu, who is the chief scientist of the dragon core project of the Institute of computing, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In the dragon core project, Chen Yunji has practiced for many years.

In 2010, Dr. Chen Tianshi also came to the Institute of computing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and became a researcher. In 2012, Chen brothers, together with several junior brothers from the Computing Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, including Liu Shaoli, Guo Qi, Liu Daofu and Du Zidong, who later served as executives in the Cambrian, launched the neural network processor (AI chip) project, which is also the technological source of the Cambrian.

In the next few years, the team has published a number of heavyweight papers, which has attracted the attention of the industry, and has a preliminary idea of industrialization. In 2016, Googles alphago World War I became famous, and artificial intelligence set off an upsurge all over the world. In 2016, just founded in Cambrian, it received tens of millions of angel investment from Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 2016, Cambrian launched the first Cambrian 1A processor, known as the worlds first commercial deep learning dedicated processor. This processor was favored by Huawei. It was applied to the Kirin 970 chip of Huawei. After that, the Kirin 970 chip became famous, and the Cambrian was also famous for it. It received orders of hundreds of millions of yuan.

Later, Huaweis Kirin 980 chip also adopted a Cambrian processor. Huaweis Kirin 970 and 980 chips have been used in many of Huaweis flagship mobile phones. For example, 12 mobile phones such as Huawei mate10, P20 and glory V10 are equipped with Kirin 970 chip; 6 mobile phones such as Huawei mate20 and glory Magic2 are equipped with Kirin 980 chip. According to iResearch, Huawei has previously contributed at least 1 billion yuan to Cambrian, which is the companys main source of revenue.

However, last June, Huawei launched a new high-end 8-series processor, the first product of which is Kirin 810 chip. The Kirin 810 chip adopts the self-developed Da Vinci architecture NPU, and abandons the Cambrian NPU, which makes the relationship between Cambrian and Huawei more delicate. Whether Huaweis mobile phone chip can continue to use the Cambrian NPU in the future is also crucial to its development.

Source: Qiao JunJing, editor in charge of daily economic news