Briefing: Chinese voice recognition startup AISpeech releases its first custom chip

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思必驰正式发布首款AI芯片,还成立了一家芯片公 – NetEase

What happened: Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) unicorn AISpeech announced at a press conference today its first AI voice chip Taihang after more than a year of research and development. The new chip is designed to accommodate a wide range of applications and devices, including smartphones, smart cars, and smart homes. AISpeech also revealed that it set up a new company in March for the production of the new chip, which is headed by AISpeech CTO Zhou Weida. A number of top executives at AISpeech including executive vice president Wu Gengyuan also joined the company’s new AI chip venture.

Why it’s important: In China, voice recognition is an increasingly competitive field that has a produced a number of prominent AI companies. Over the past year, some of these AI companies including Unisound, Mobvoi, and Rokid released their own custom AI chips. Chips tailored for a specific purpose could run more optimally on devices compared to general-purpose chips. Chinese companies have also been accelerating the development of chipmaking in hopes of reducing the country’s reliance on foreign tech.