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Alibaba Leads Investment in U.S. AI Chip Designer Kneron

36kr.com, 11/15/17

U.S.-based artificial intelligence chip designer Kneron recently completed Series A funding of over USD 10 mln led by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund with participation from Taiwanese display device manufacturer Himax Technologies, CDIB Capital, chipmaker Qualcomm, Beijing-based mobile intelligent terminal operating system, products and technology provider Thunder Software Technology (300496.SH), Sequoia Capital, and Chuangye Bang Angel Fund.

Kneron, founded in San Diego in 2014, is a provider of integrated hardware and software solutions for AI and deep learning. Low power consumption is Kneron's key selling point, and its first-generation product only consumes 350 milliwatts, approximately 60% lower than mainstream products on the market.

Kneron currently produces three main products. The first is compatible with ARM M4/M5 low-end products and is designed for smart home products. The second, compatible with ARM A8/A9 series, is suitable for security products. The third, compatible with high-end ARM A53/A57 series products, is suitable for smartphones. Kneron products have already been used in a security project in partnership with Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK) and an air conditioner in partnership with Zhuhai-based home appliance manufacturer Gree (000651.SZ).

Kneron primarily forms partnerships through licensing of its IP, leaving the partners responsible for chip manufacturing. Kneron was profitable in Q1 and Q2, and 2017 annual revenue is expected to hit USD 7-digits.

Editor's Note: Headquartered in San Diego, California, Kneron also has offices in Shenzhen and Taipei.

Keywords: Thunder Software 300496.SH VC M&A USA hardware funding Qualcomm CDIB Series A Himax chipmaker Sequoia Capital Chuangye Bang Angel Fund artificial intelligence Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund Kneron Alibaba Group overseas handset chip

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