Chinese internet giant, Tencent, has launched three domestically developed chips. The Shenzhen-based tech firm follows fellow Chinese heavyweight, Alibaba, which launched its chip in October.
The announcement was made at the company’s Digital Ecosystem Summit in Wuhan in early November.
Speaking at the summit, Dowson Tong Taosang, Tencent’s president of cloud and smart industries group, described the chips as a crucial part of the core of the industrial internet.
The first chip, Zixiao, was developed for processing video, images and natural language. The second, Canghai, focuses on video transcribing and the third semiconductor, Xuanling, functions as a network interface controller.
The new development offers some rare insights into Tencent’s research and development plans. These now go beyond their current wheelhouse of mobile payments, gaming and social media services.
Taosong said Tencent’s foray into the semiconductor industry would be long-term but he did not confirm which chip foundry would be producing the three chips.
According to the South China Morning Post, Tencent’s AI processor chip, Zixiao, has already entered trial production. Qiu Yuepeng, vice president of Tencent, said the silicon-based semiconductor performed 100 times better than existing products.
Canghai and Xuanling also perform exceptionally well, according to the company. The Canghai product had a video compression rate 30% greater than existing technologies and Xuanling performed 400% better than similar network interface controllers.
In the past, Tencent has been somewhat secretive about its semiconductor developments. In fact, the Wuhan announcement was the first time the WeChat developer had revealed any progress in the field publicly.
The company, which recently reached a market cap of $572 billion, has made a series of strategic moves in 2021 to develop an in-house chip.
In January, Tencent took part in a round of funding for Shanghai AI startup, Enflame Technology. The $279 million Series C fundraiser was the fourth time the tech giant had invested in the Shanghai firm in 24 months. Enflame Technology now has a market value of roughly $1.7 billion, according to SCMP.
Tencent is not the only tech firm trying its hand at semiconductor development. In October, Alibaba launched the Yitian 710 central processing unit that will power the company’s cloud computing sector.
Tencent operates in a competitive cloud infrastructure services market, estimated to be worth around $6.6 billion in 2021’s second quarter, alongside Huawei and Alibaba. According to research firm, Canalys, Alibaba enjoys a 33.8% share, followed by Huawei and Tencent, with 19.3% and 18.8% respectively.