In recent days, reports about a chip joint venture in China between Tesla and Swiss semiconductor company Annex have attracted a lot of attention, but on November 30, Tesla China said that the EV maker has not established a chip company in China.
According to the business information query platform Qichacha, the joint venture named Annex Semiconductor was established on October 19, with a registered capital of $150 million. Annex Semiconductor Limited, a registered company in the UK, is the actual controller, holding 55% of the shares. Jinan Zurich Annex Equity Investment Fund Partnership holds 40%, while Tesla Motors Limited, a UK-registered company, holds 5%.
Due to the overlap of the English name, the above information was interpreted by some media as Tesla and Annex setting up a joint venture. They claimed that this was the first time Tesla had laid out the chip design and manufacturing links in the Chinese mainland.
However, Tesla China said it does not have a chip company in China and has no relationship with Annex Semiconductor. Chinese media outlet Guancha.cn contacted Annex Semiconductor through the number on Qiqiacha. A staff member who picked up the call said, “This is not Annex Semiconductor. We are in the seafood business.”
An Electrek report showed that semiconductor insiders said that they haven’t heard of a company called Annex Semiconductor. A search of Annex on Google shows no other relevant information beyond the company’s own website and reports about Tesla. Links to the company’s social media accounts don’t work, the company’s headquarters aren’t real, and all the other supposed offices don’t have any listed addresses.
The Annex website shows six press releases so far. Most of them are one-sentence news items with no useful information. A press release named “ANNEX Robotics Starter Kit Kick-Starts the Intelligent Factory of the Future” is very similar to an official report released by chip firm AMD. The chip image in another one titled “Zurich Fund Completes Acquisition of ANNEX” is similar to AMD’s Ryzen chip.
The Zurich Fund also appears to be a completely fictitious company. The website has the same design as Annex’s and is full of vague and generic information. Its “our people” page actually profiles two executives, but they are both made up with stock images for their profiles.
Although Tesla has denied setting up chip companies in China, maintaining chip supplies has been a problem plaguing many automakers during the epidemic, and it is common for automakers to reduce production as a result. News emerged last week that TSMC will produce the next generation of fully autonomous driving chips for Tesla as the EV company has placed a large chip order with the chip manufacturer, the size of which will make Tesla one of TSMC’s seven largest customers next year. TSMC declined to comment on the reports.