(Yicai Global) May 10 -- Venture arm of US Intel Corp., the world's second-largest microchip maker, has invested in Shanghai-based semiconductor firm Espressif Systems Pte., as well as two other Chinese artificial intelligence firms "who are shaping the future of AI."
California-based Intel Capital will invest CNY458.9 million (USD72 million) in 12 innovative companies, and three of them are Chinese, the firm said at Intel Capital Global Summit 2018 held on May 8-10.
The two other companies are Beijing-based cloud platform provider Alauda Inc. and Xiamen-based facial recognition software firm Reconova Technologies Co. Intel did not disclose the specific amount of investments.
"These new startups who are shaping the future of AI, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IOT), and chip technologies, are demonstrating Intel's development strategies centering on data, said Wendell Brooks, the senior vice president of Intel, as well as the president of Intel Capital, adding, "As the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, these technological fields will play a vital role."
This funding batch reflects Intel Capital's new strategy to invest bigger amounts in startups that engage in such areas as AI, IOT, and cloud computing, where the US firm hopes its processors will play a central role in future. The venture company has totally made over USD115 million investments in 2018.
This is not the first time Intel looks at Chinese AI innovation with merchant's interest. The US firm acted as the leading investor for Horizon Robotics Inc. when the chipmaker startup accomplished its Series A+ round of financing last December and pooled almost USD100 million to build a prototype driverless car that can park itself.
Espressif Systems is a fabless semiconductor company which offers IOT services, such as Wi-Fi chips and Bluetooth chips. These integrated circuits have been widely used in IOT products such as tablet computers, cameras, wearables, and smart home furnishings because of their competitive pricing, said Intel.
Fabless firm designs microchips but contracts out their production rather than owning its own factory.
Editors: Emmi Laine, Mevlut Kati