Pride Silicon, an automotive chip developer, completed a pre-A round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan, which was exclusively invested by Xiaomi‘s industrial investment affiliate, 36Kr reported on November 2. This is another investment made by Xiaomi in the chip industry after the launch of the company’s automobile manufacturing plans plan last year.
At present, the intelligentization of new energy vehicles in China is promoting the increase of communication interface chips throughout the market. These kinds of chips are strongly related to automobile safety, and have extremely high requirements on reliability, anti-interference ability and quality.
Pride Silicon was established in March 2021, integrating the design, development, production and sales of chips. Its main products include vehicle transceivers, CAN interface ICs, and ethernet transceivers. As of now, the company has completed two rounds of financing with investors including Walden International, Sunic Capital, Innoangel Fund, and others.
The core members of Pride Silicon mainly come from first-class semiconductor enterprises and have extensive experience in mass production. Walden International, which once led Pride Silicon’s angel investing, is optimistic about the team. Wang Lin, partner of Walden International, said, “Pride Silicon is one of the few companies in China with more than 10 years of R&D and mass production experience in high-end automotive chips.”
Xiaomi‘s research on chips can be traced back to 2017. In February of that year, Xiaomi launched a smartphone equipped with the Surge S1 chip. In the following four years, Xiaomi never launched any smartphone equipped with the chip. On March 30, 2021, the MIX Fold, Xiaomi‘s first foldable smartphone, was finally released and equipped with the Surge C1, an image signal processing (ISP) chip.
According to Qichacha, a business information inquiry platform, since its establishment in 2017, Xiaomi‘s industrial investment affiliate has invested in 110 semiconductor enterprises. In 2021 alone, it invested in 47 companies in the field of semiconductors, including Novosense Microelectronics and Black Sesame Technologies, providing support for the company’s vehicle manufacturing ambitions.
Lei Jun, founder, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, once said, “A large number of technical thresholds and technology accumulations in the hardware industry are finally reflected in the form of chips. If Xiaomi wants to go further and become a real global technology leader, I don’t think we can get around the chip field.”