Briefing: AI chipmaker Horizon Robotics raises $600 million in funding

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AI chip unicorn Horizon Robotics raises US$600m in funding as China seeks to reduce dependence on imported semiconductors – SCMP

What happened: Artificial intelligence (AI) chip designer Horizon Robotics has raised a massive $600 million in its latest round of funding. The round was led by SK, a South Korean conglomerate, memory chipmaker SK Hynix, and a number of venture capital funds backed by Chinese auto manufacturers. The investment now values Beijing-based Horizon Robotics at $3 billion, according to the company.

Why it’s important: Backed by private and state funds, China’s AI chip industry is witnessing a boom. Earlier this week, chipmaker Nationalchip announced a RMB 150 million investment led by a fund under the State Development & Investment Corp, which is backed by the Ministry of Finance. China seeks to temper its reliance on foreign-made technology, especially semiconductors. President Xi Jinping has called for self-sufficiency as part of a broad plan aimed at moving China up the industrial value chain. AI is of particular significance. The State Council, China’s cabinet, has set a goal of becoming a world leader in the technology by 2030.