ByteDance forays into semiconductor business to counter US manipulation and repression

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Main control chips developed by a Shanghai-based company are presented in April. Photo: CGV

TikTok owner ByteDance has unveiled plans to design its own chips, joining other Chinese tech companies and internet giants that have focused on semiconductors to counter US manipulation and repression. United.

In response to recent media coverage of ByteDance’s self-developed chips, Yang Zhenyuan, vice president of ByteDance, said Wednesday that the company’s plan for self-designed semiconductors will focus on customizing chips for its video recommendation services for the purpose of optimizing efficiency and productivity.

“Our R&D team will work on optimizing the hardware used to power the company’s video technologies, including video codec, cloud inference acceleration and others,” Yang said.

Yang warned that ByteDance does not intend to develop chips for sale and will not be involved in businesses such as central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). ByteDance buys X86 chips from Intel to build its technology infrastructure, noting that the company plans to use reduced instruction set computer (RISC) and work with global suppliers.

Having a footprint in the semiconductor sector seems to be a “standard setup” among Chinese tech giants, and it indicates that the companies are paying similar attention to software and hardware, aiming to improve the experience. customer as market competition intensifies, Ma Jihua, a veteran technology analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Concerns over intellectual property and possible U.S. sanctions have helped accelerate investment, Ma said.

But Ma noted that based on current information, ByteDance’s chip business doesn’t touch the “hardest area”, so the job won’t be “that difficult”.

According to a report from chinastarmarket.cn, ByteDance has hired chip-related engineers on a large scale, and the positions in demand include SoC model performance analysis, verification, underlying software and driver development, design low power consumption, as well as the chip. Security.

Previously, Alibaba, smartphone maker Xiaomi, Huawei, as well as Vivo and OPPO, all announced plans or investments in semiconductors.

“Developing their own chips will help tech companies build their own ecosystem,” Liu Dingding, a strong supporter of China’s internet industry, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In June, China officially released the STAR Chip Index to track the performance of leading companies in semiconductor materials and equipment, chip design, and chip packaging and testing, aiming to to attract more investment in the increasingly important industry amid a growing US government crackdown.

The rollout of the index is expected to diversify investors’ options, channeling more capital into the IC industry.

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