Baidu Follows Alibaba, Focuses On RISC-V Chips To Bypass US Embargo

  • On Thursday, Shanghai-based RISC-V chip technology company StarFive said it had received a strategic investment from Chinese search firm Baidu Inc BIDU for an undisclosed amount.
  • StarFive has raised 1 billion yuan ($146.46 million) in financing to date, calling that a record for the domestic RISC-V sector, Reuters reports.
  • The investment reflects a growing trend among Chinese tech giants to pour resources into RISC-V, an open-source technology that some analysts say is less susceptible to U.S. sanctions.
  • Also Read: Baidu's ChatGPT Counterpart Ernie Bot Impresses Analysts
  • StarFive CEO Xu Tao stated that StarFive would work with Baidu to implement RISC-V products in data centers.
  • Experts say the technology and ecosystem around RISC-V are less advanced than that of Softbank Group Corp SFTBF SFTBY Arm Ltd and Intel Corp INTC, which dominate ISA usage for mobile devices, personal computers, and server chips.
  • In March, Alibaba Group Holding Limited's BABA chip unit T-Head and Alipay, the payment service under Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group shared plans to launch computing chips for secure payments based on RISC-V.
  • In 2019, Washington imposed an export embargo on China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
  • In late 2022, the U.S. launched similar export restrictions on Chinese chip fabs and research labs, triggering enthusiasm for RISC-V in China.
  • As of November, Alibaba offered to power 20% of its operations with its homebrew CPUs by 2025.
  • Price Action: BIDU shares traded higher by 3.44% at $153.76 on the last check Thursday.
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