Imagination Technologies and BAIC Group Industrial Investment Co., Ltd. (BAIC Capital), signed a joint venture agreement to initiate the establishment of an automotive fabless semiconductor company.
Its main business is to design automotive grade system-on-chips (SoCs) and related software, and to provide 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 and 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.
BAIC Group (officially Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd.) is a Chinese state-owned enterprise and holding company of several automobile and machine manufacturers located in Beijing, China.
Its principal subsidiaries include the passenger car maker BAIC Motor; a military vehicle and SUV maker, BAW; and a truck, bus, and agricultural equipment maker, Foton Motor. BAIC also makes Hyundai and Mercedes-branded cars for sale on the Chinese market through the Beijing Hyundai and Beijing Benz joint ventures (of BAIC Motor).
It is often ranked as the fifth or fourth-largest Chinese automaker by volume and boasts several successful passenger-car joint ventures with foreign firms.
“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.”