China to create its own automotive chips, reducing dependancy on imports
LONDON, UK and Beijing, China – 7th May 2020 – Imagination Technologies and BAIC Group Industrial Investment Co., Ltd. (BAIC Capital), signed a joint venture agreement to initiate the establishment of an industry-leading automotive fabless semiconductor company. Its main business is to design automotive grade system-on-chips (SoCs) and related software, and to provide comprehensive support services. The JV aims to lead the new development of the automotive manufacturing and automotive chip industry. It will work with other automotive chip companies in the industry to support the innovations in intelligent connected vehicle for Chinese customers with a new model.
The JV company will be headquartered in Zhongguancun Integrated Circuit Design Park. Main funding for the JV will come from Imagination, BAIC Capital, Additional investors are expected to be brought in during further rounds of funding. Bravo Lee, who has held senior roles in Imagination, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Spreadtrum will be CEO of the JV.
The JV will operate independently as a fabless semiconductor company and a technology solutions provider. It will focus on the research and development of application processors for autonomous driving assistance systems (ADAS) and voice interactive chips for intelligent cockpits and provide strategic reserves for domestic auto companies represented by BAIC Group in the field of automotive chips. The new JV will licence IPs and software of graphics processing units (GPU), and neural network acceleration (NNA) from Imagination in the way of general IP licensing model.
Imagination was selected for the JV due its extensive history and expertise in automotive. Today, a number of the leading automotive semiconductor suppliers use Imagination’s IP, giving it a market share by volume of over 50% for automotive application processors. BAIC Group is the leading automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in China, and is currently the fourth largest automaker in China.
Intelligent connected vehicle is a clear development direction of the automotive industry. Along with this trend, the model of chip applications in automotive industry are changed from standard-based chips to advanced, customized hardware and software solutions, as well as technical services that deeply integrated with customers and their products. Therefore, new industrial opportunities are driving changes in the way of industry collaboration. Imagination will work with the JV and other Chinese customers to promote the rise of chip industry for intelligent connected vehicle in China.
“We are very pleased to cooperate with investors such as BAIC Group, a leading Chinese automotive company, to establish an advanced automotive chip design company in Beijing. Our goal is to accelerate the formation of China’s advanced automotive chip industry cluster.” Said Ray Bingham, CEO of Imagination Technologies: “As an independent IP supplier whose products have been widely proven in the automotive industry, Imagination will support the JV and other Chinese automotive chip companies to achieve the rise of a whole chip development cluster through innovations in technologies and business models. We shall work together to provide advanced chips for intelligent connected vehicles worldwide.”