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Development of Major Chinese AI Chip Startups

  • Report

  • 27 Pages
  • November 2019
  • Region: China
  • Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC)
  • ID: 4858762

With the increased complexity of AI (Artificial Intelligence) modules, AI chip performance has played a key role in the widespread adoption of AI technology and has thus become the focus of future development in the chip industry. China will not let this opportunity slip away since AI has been a key development trend in China’s industry. Apart from existing players, startups are also making a big push into AI chip development. Backed by government policies, venture firms’ funding, and domestic market demand, startups have accumulated solid technological competencies and made significant achievements in AI applications, while continuing to develop advanced technology. This report analyzes the development of Chinese AI chip startups in terms of the background of their founders, fundraising status, product portfolios, and application areas to provide insights into Chinese vendor's technological capabilities and deployment plans.

List of Topics:

  • Background of AI developments in China
  • Background of Chinese major AI chip startups in IP (Intellectual Property) and ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) and includes their fundraising and product types
  • Patent deployment strategies and applications targeted by these Chinese major AI chip startups such as Unisound, Combricon, Intellifusion, Bitmain, Horizon Robotics, Chiplntelli, Canaan Creative, NextVPU, and ThinkForce.

Table of Contents

1. Background

2. Founder Background and Fundraising Status
2.1 Founder Background: Industry Experience Facilitates Product Commercialization
2.2 Fundraising Status: Several Startups Secure More than US$1 Million in Funding

3. Product Types, Patents, and Application Areas
3.1 Product Types: Focus on ASIC
3.1.1 New Computing Architecture: Focus on In-memory Computing and Neuromorphic Chips
3.1.2 ASIC: Focus on 28nm Chips for Entry-level and Mid-range Markets
3.1.3 Algorithm + ASIC: Focus on Image Recognition and Enhanced Intelligent Functions of Edge Devices
3.2 Patent Portfolio: Focus on Voice and Image Recognition
3.3 Application Areas: Focus on Security Surveillance and Smart Home

4. Author's Perspective
Glossary of Terms
List of Companies

List of Tables
Table 1 Chinese AI Chip Startups (by Year of Establishment)
Table 2 Background of Startup Founders
Table 3 Startups Fundraising Status
Table 4 Chinese AI Chip Vendors by Product Type
Table 5 Chips with New Architecture by Chinese AI Chip Vendors
Table 6 Comparison of Chinese AI Chip Startups’ ASIC Chips
Table 7 Comparison of Chips by Chinese AI Chip Startups
Table 8 Applications Targeted by Chinese AI Chip Startups

List of Figures
Figure 1 Patent Counts by Company
Figure 2 Top 20 Patent Classes and Counts

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • Amazon Echo
  • Bitmain
  • Black Sesame Technologies
  • Canaan Creative
  • Cambricon
  • Celepixel Technology
  • ChipIntelli
  • Corerain Technologies
  • DeepcreatIC
  • DeePhi Tech
  • Deepoly
  • DinoPlusAI
  • Exploration Technology
  • eyemore
  • GPT
  • Heyintelligence Technology
  • HiSilicon
  • Horizon Robotics
  • Huawei
  • Intellifusion
  • Lynxi Technologies
  • NextVPU
  • Otureo
  • SenseTime
  • SymbolTek
  • Thinker
  • ThinkForce
  • Unisound
  • Westwell
  • Witinmem
  • YH Supermarket


Primary research with a holistic, cross-domain approach

The exhaustive primary research methods are central to the value that the analyst delivers. A combination of questionnaires and on-site visits to the major manufacturers provides a first view of the latest data and trends. Information is subsequently validated by interviews with the manufacturers' suppliers and customers, covering a holistic industry value chain. This process is backed up by a cross-domain team-based approach, creating an interlaced network across numerous interrelated components and system-level devices to ensure statistical integrity and provide in-depth insight.

Complementing primary research is a running database and secondary research of industry and market information. Dedicated research into the macro-environmental trends shaping the ICT industry also allows the analyst to forecast future development trends and generate foresight perspectives. With more than 20 years of experience and endeavors in research, the methods and methodologies include:


  • Component supplier interviews
  • System supplier interviews
  • User interviews
  • Channel interviews
  • IPO interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Consumer surveys
  • Production databases
  • Financial data
  • Custom databases


  • Technology forecasting and assessment
  • Product assessment and selection
  • Product life cycles
  • Added value analysis
  • Market trends
  • Scenario analysis
  • Competitor analysis