Samsung to make chips for China’s Baidu in notable first partnership

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Samsung makes chips for a lot of different companies like Qualcomm and Intel. It has never had such a partnership with Baidu before, the company that’s often referred to as China’s Google. However, it was announced today that Samsung will now be making chips for Baidu.The Korean giant will be manufacturing Baidu’s new cloud-to-edge artificial intelligence chip called Baidu KUNLUN. The development has been completed and the chip will enter mass production from early next year.Samsung enters into first foundry partnership with BaiduBaidu KUNLUN is going to be built on the Chinese company’s own XPU neural processor architecture and fabricated on Samsung’s 14nm process technology with the I-Cube package solution. This solution integrates a System-on-Chip and a High Bandwidth Memory on a silicon interposer to form one single package to increase electrical transference. What this means is that the overall chip will take up less space in devices.“Baidu KUNLUN is an important milestone for Samsung Foundry as we’re expanding our business area beyond mobile to datacenter applications by developing and mass-producing AI chips,” said Ryan Lee, VP of Foundry Marketing at Samsung Electronics.The AI chip has a 512GBps memory bandwidth and can supply up to 260 Tera operations per second at 150 watts. This will allow Baidu to support a variety of functions with the chip such as large-scale AI workloads, autonomous driving, speech recognition, natural language processing and more.This is the first foundry partnership between Samsung and Baidu which allows Samsung to expand its foundry business into high-performance computing chips. This leaves the door open for other companies to seek the Korean foundry’s services for their own HPC chips. This partnership is also notable owing to the overall geopolitical situation.Chinese companies have increasingly been looking for alternatives to chips that were previously sourced from semiconductor companies in the United States. The ongoing trade war between China and the United States may just be adding to that search for alternatives. Having Baidu’s stamp of approval might lead to Samsung winning more foundry customers from China in the future. It’s an important partnership as Samsung seeks to significantly increase its earnings from the foundry business in the years to come.

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