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Ma Yun quickly bought half of China's AI chip straight 怼 Tencent and Baidu

via:博客园     time:2017/12/7 10:32:44     readed:57

One thing, the battalion commander did not understand.

A few days ago burst out Ali 1.5 billion investment soup technology, do not know Face ++ feel?

Battalion commander can not help but pondering, had been Face ++ won Alipay brush face business, will not change its flag banner? Ali generous ah, CV track, both leaders are included in the command, Ali in the end behind this there is no investment logic?

Another matter, Ali actually invested 5 chip companies in one fell swoop, Hangzhou Zhongtianwei, Barefoot Networks, Cambrian, resistance, deep Kam, which is favorable for China's rhythm?

In a few days there is another news, Baidu announced that it will invest in more than 10 AI startups in 2018.

Since BAT is spinning around investment AI, the battalion commander combs the relevant content today, hoping to be of help to you.

BAT vs AI Startups, Varsity vs Stations

Throughout the field of BAT in the capital "generous", whether it is Alibaba.com S & amp; B technology 1.5 billion yuan, as the current single area of ​​AI highest financing amount; or Baidu put ruthless put 2018 investment in more than 10 AI venture Company, longing for "the spark of the stars can start a prairie fire" Or is it Tencent come from behind, increase the weight of three consecutive intelligent robot business? Why?

Of course, in addition to the most common reasons: to invest in start-ups to make up the short board to support the entire strategic layout, there is another reason - AI companies need them.

Many start-ups in the AI ​​arena have become the most urgent commercialization after many rounds of high-margin financing. Compared with the capital injection at the financial level, these enterprises are even more eager to inject all kinds of resources from the giant in order to promote the commercialization process .

As previously, "Tsinghua On Road", Shang Tang Tang Xiaogu complained about the start-up company early on "starting to stand", and Tencent headmaster Ma responded in that "we are also very helpless" . Having said that, the half-push in the middle also reveals the entrepreneurial company and BAT dependent on your feelings I wish.

Take a look at what AI startups BAT loves over these years. Look at Baidu.

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Recently, Baidu sharply adjusted the current face recognition business interface charging mode, analysis of the new billing model (to QPS monthly subscription mode, each interface to developers and certification companies were given 2QPS and 5QPS free configuration amount each day, more than Will enter the monthly subscription mode) for SMEs is equivalent to permanently free.

To face recognition technology as the representative, Baidu is promoting AI blessing efforts, it is reported that in 2018 plans to invest more than 10 AI start-ups, the future hope that through the "prairie fire plan" and a series of ecological means to create the most complete AI Technology Ecology.

Baidu global spread, love images, voice, driverless

In fact, as early as September 2016, Baidu has set up a special fund-raising AI project body named Baidu venture capital (BV), Li Yanhong as chairman and involved in the assessment of important projects to judge, Baidu venture can be established Be regarded as a continuation of the strategy of full-scale shift to artificial intelligence.

According to incomplete statistics, Baidu Ventures has so far invested in over 30 projects including virtual modeling technology company 8i, FPGA acceleration technology company Falcon, UAV flight control and map platform Airmap, and smart retail solution provider YI Tunnel As well as smart education company homework boxes, etc., a number of companies.

Baidu investment in artificial intelligence in recent years, increasing year by year, R & D costs account for about 15% of total revenue, while in some key technologies, Baidu Capital also began to force, M & A mergers and acquisitions, holdings of shares, preliminary statistics : Baidu has acquired a wholly owned subsidiary of Kitt.ai (intelligent voice), Raven Technology (Intelligent Operating System), Zest Finance (financial technology), xPerception (image processing) and other companies to enrich the overall technical strength.

Acquired Raven: Beautifully made hardware

In February of this year, Baidu acquired Raven Technology, its CEO, Lv Cheng, Baidu Intelligent Hardware Division's "helm", thus Baidu's specialized intelligent hardware sector to achieve a "from 0 to 1" breakthrough.

After the acquisition of Raven technology, COO Lu Qi said that Raven Technology's joining is one of Baidu's major contributions to the future development of AI. In order to give play to the advantages of Baidu's intelligent interactive platform and build the core competitiveness of software and hardware integration There's important meaning. Just nine months after Raven joined Baidu, at Baidu World Congress in 2017, Baidu's first hardware product, the first of its kind in the United States, has been "smart and beautiful" for many years. Joining the domestic smart speaker "fighting" The ranks.

We are more thinking, over the years Baidu actually lacks a "real" product, aside from the specific evaluation data do not say, Raven H's appearance has indeed reached a certain effect, so that Baidu in the wave of AI competition not only Only in the promotion of technology, there are products that can be spelled.

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In addition, the acquisition of Raven technology has indeed achieved the integration of Baidu's internal resources, in a timely manner to meet the technical intent of intelligent interaction, at the same time for the future of AI hardware and software field, "both hands and both hard" development strategy ready.

Bet unmanned, intelligent voice interactive double track

Also this year, a news on Baidu's investment, "Zhongke Eye has received nearly 100 million yuan Pre-B round of financing, Baidu Apollo Fund leader" is also in the industry, "a stone aroused Melaleuca waves".

It is understood that the main focus in the Department of Auto-driving system and related products research and development and manufacturing. There are outstanding achievements on technical patents and software copyright such as stereoscopic vision measurement, adaptive calibration, binocular visual calibration, low light video enhancement and software real-time image stabilization.

That's right, this is a company that develops autonomous driving technology!

For this round of financing, Jiang An, founder and CEO of Gogo, said the financing will be the second generation of Zhongke Goggles eye-catching ADAS production, custom research and development of pre-installed items and automatic vision sensing system research and development, research and development of three generations of ASIC chips Provide funding and strategic resource support.

Baidu's investment objective is clearly easier to understand. From July Robin Lee took the driverless car to participate in the developer meeting is whether to receive tickets to the World Congress in November Baidu "the first release of driverless mass production car by the end of July 2018" brave language, Baidu has been planning to be driverless & ldquo; do the end & rdquo ;.

Coupled with the current smart car platform Baidu Baidu - Apollo (Apollo) has more than 6,000 developers are using more than 100 partners to apply for Apollo open data. Apollo has become an active open system, so Baidu investment in the field of driverless only increase the proportion, after all, this is Baidu's AI strategy "one of the two wings".

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Speaking of Baidu's AI strategy, in addition to unmanned, is intelligent voice interaction. Therefore, it is not hard for us to understand Baidu as one of the capitalists.

As a technology innovation company that focuses on the interaction between acoustic cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence, Voice-Over Technology excels in far-field voice interaction solutions from hardware and software to cloud services, as well as from Turnkey products solutions from chip modules and PCBA to industrial design. , Where soft and hard convergence technologies such as acoustic communication, microphone array, wake-up and recognition of far-field voice, and end-to-end deep learning occupy a relatively more important position in the intelligent voice interaction industry chain. It is said that Baidu and Voice-Chi technology should also develop related kits for voice interaction platform, which shows the effect of this investment technology blessing.

After battalion commanders, in general, Baidu investment in the field of AI is "cutting-edge technology" as a trigger point, will think about the future and the construction of the ecosystem as the main goal, combined with its own business development and the two core Technology to continuously extend the investment territory.

Finished Baidu AI investment "caution", let us look at the performance of the capital market has been "rich and powerful" Ali father.

Ali advocates "technical" investment, delight AI chip

Ali has been overweight AI, continue to move in the area of ​​investment continued. Recently, the news that Alibaba invested RMB1.5 billion in Shang-Tong Technology, the company of Unic Unicorn, has brushed off the headlines.

It is said that Shang Tang Technology has repeatedly wanted Ali's investment, but Ali has not optimistic. Wait until the reaction came, the valuation of Shang Tang has become very old, Shang Tong's heart is also too high to fall off. In order to make up for this missing ticket, Ali sent an absolute high-level executive to discuss investment with Shang Tang. The same is also grab investment soup Tencent, only sent a vice president in the past. The result is very clear, that is Ali absolute sincerity, won the Shang soup.

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It is reported that this should be the highest so far in the field of AI single financing amount. Ma cloud father is moat! Not to blame Ma Yun dad for those who did not invite him Wuzhen said, "I want to organize a dinner, the world's top. & rdquo;

It is only natural that Shang Tang Technology, as the first echelon of AI startups, got the favor of capital. In fact, Ali also invested in another head company in the field of artificial intelligence segment vision.

Recalling the past two years Ali's "AI Capital History"; has now completed a low profile, including the Cambrian, Wayray, Infinity AR and other investment projects at home and abroad. The investment direction involves many applications of AI in the vertical subdivision, including blockchain, edge computing, new storage, quantum computing and so on.

Ali's AI investment is obviously based on technology as the first direction, rather than industry-oriented. This from the Cambrian, Kuang as technology, Si Bi Chi, small i robots and other projects can be very good proof.

AI chip investment "put it down" rdquo;

In Ali's "Investment Curriculum Vitae", we found a peculiar phenomenon: Ali and Ali are all fond of AI chips, and thus the battalion chief has some data:

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(Pictures from Shenzhen Bay)

In 2015, Ali in-depth cooperation with Hangzhou Zhongtian Microsystems Co., Ltd. to develop Yun on Chip architecture for various segments of the Internet of Things. In January 2016, Ali became the largest shareholder of Zhongtian Micro Shareholders, but the specific amount of financing has not been disclosed.

In November 2016, Ali also led the programmable chip company Barefoot Networks with Tencent, up to $ 23 million in round C financing. It is reported that Barefoot Networks developed the world's first programmable chip, said twice faster than any other chip on the market today, at 6.5 megabits per second network packet processing.

In August 2017, Ali invested in the AI ​​chip company Cambria. Known as the world's first successful AI chip company with mature chips, Cambria has two product lines, AI Terminal IP and Cloud High Performance AI chips. The Cambricon-1A, released in 2016, is the world's first commercially available deep learning processor.

In November 2017, Ali also led another AI chip company to endurance. The most proud of its durability is its own NPU, the relevant data show that its M 4, M5 level chip power consumption can be reduced to milliwatts level, the required size can be reduced to mainstream neural network chip 1/40.

As another important investment arm of Ali, Ant Financial Services also invested in two AI startups, one of which is Deep Vision Technology, which focuses on the development of AI chips.

In this way, Ali has won five companies developing AI chips, and these five can be regarded as the first echelon of AI chip research and development technology. Ali and Ali why so much like investing in AI chip research and development startups do?

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Ali behind the reason behind the chip

First, the chip is to open an important part of the industrial chain. Explore the logic behind the above investment behavior in Alibaba, we found that in fact, shares of Hangzhou Zhongtian Micro can help Ali hit the whole line of "processor + operating system + terminal"; the same token, investment in Cambrian also Can effectively get through "server + operating system + terminal" The whole industry chain.

Overall, in fact, these specific investment behavior is to help Ali get through and ensure "operating system (yunOS) + processor chip or application chip + algorithm + terminal + application + cloud" such a smooth path.

Second, in order to improve the calculation. In addition to the optimization of the industrial chain, the current development of the domestic AI is actually a big fuss about automation and efficiency improvement. In the overall layout of the AI, there are three elements that giant companies must consider, that is, data, algorithms and calculations force.

Ali no shortage of data, pay attention to IaaS layer building has always been the tradition of Ali father, so each platform will accumulate massive user data, at the same time these data will "make the best use of" as an important resource AI model training.

Algorithms, Ali can also get through various channels to recruit talent.

In terms of power, you need to join the Cambrian and energy-resistant enterprises to complete the technology upgrade. The future Ali will choose to play a huge industry advantage in the new retail, automotive, smart hardware, e-commerce, will inevitably layout a lot of hardware.

Third, chip technology is a "cloud computing" necessity. Ali cloud is Ali is very tough part of the business, to provide IaaS and PaaS services, I personally feel Ali IaaS level is relatively mature.

If you refer to AWS in the cloud development process, the system optimization of enterprise-class cloud computing is actually not just the software level, of course, including chips, hardware, systems, etc., in order to make their own cloud better optimization, the chip Technology blessing is essential, Ali will certainly be considered, although it is not specifically to do the chip.

In other words, Ali chips invested in the future can be used in their own clouds to ensure the stability of all aspects, especially the cloud platform to achieve higher computing power, lower power consumption, smaller size, investment in such enterprises Technology prospects or strategic considerations are very important.

Just in October, the cloud habitat, Alibaba CTO Zhang Jianfeng also mentioned Ali Al core developed by Ali will soon meet with you, the introduction of this product will greatly guarantee the stability of Ali cloud, for such businesses The injection of capital into the enterprise should bring great impetus to the technological research and development of its own chip.

If the AI ​​chip has become a strategic sign, Ali as a giant how to let go? The success of the chip to a certain extent, not only includes the technical achievements, but also shows a mature application and ecology.

Fourth, Ali's reason for AI chip companies may also have some factors from the industry. In the era of PC and smart phone outbreak, China's common chip area is almost a blank area, the mainstream of mobile phone chips are still Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek and other foreign chip giant monopoly.

The advent of AI seems to give "China's core" a "world-core" opportunity. However, for most AI chip start-ups, there are indeed some challenges in building AI chips. First, the funds and manpower invested in developing chips are relatively large. In addition, there are enough scenes to use.

Therefore it is crucial to overcome the difficulties by introducing capital selection to the backer. So, tech giants such as Ali and AI chip startups are also very easy to reach a cooperation intention.

However, on the AI ​​chip, Baidu and Tencent apparently slow a beat.

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Tencent AI layout later, like the industry investment

Tencent is the latest in AI artificial intelligence layout for the BAT echelon, having just set up an AI lab last year. In the AI ​​investment, Tencent prefers to implement the industry coverage strategy, which can be seen from the track of investment.

Such as VoxelCloud (voxel technology), carbon cloud intelligence, etc., are representatives of the field of intelligent medical; real technology mainly involves the movement algorithm; Wei to the car is directly point to the unmanned; happy gather intelligence, belongs to the home entertainment humanoid robot R & D enterprises. The battalion commander learned in November that Tencent has consecutively invested in three smart robot companies and it seems likely that in the future, the goose factory will carry out "carpet-based, over-occupied" robotic operations.

For now, Tencent capital injection efforts mainly in the field of smart medical.

Investment AI medical, Tencent found a breakthrough in the industry application

In September of this year, the medical artificial intelligence enterprise VoxelCloud announced the completion of a 100 million A + round of financing led by Tencent Technologies, in which A-share investors Sequoia Capital and Union Capital together with the vote. It is reported that this round of financing will be used to promote the further integration of AI medical products and the hospital scene and continue to force artificial intelligence innovation in the field of medical applications.

According to Ding Xiaowei, the founder of voxel technology: "The three main product lines of voxel technology include lung cancer diagnosis, eye disease examination and coronary artery enhanced CT analysis system, which have been used at more than 50 well-known hospitals both at home and abroad. Since its launch, doctors have helped diagnose about 50,000 breast cancer patients, 50,000 heart disease patients and over 100,000 eye disease patients. & rdquo;

If you understand some time ago BAT and ISTF selected national open artificial intelligence platform for the news, you will understand that Tencent vigorous layout of intelligent medical field is not by chance, its medical imaging technology, has long been plowing for many years.

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Recently, Tencent has released the first AI medical imaging products "Tencent Miying" products using AI Lab technology found that the accuracy of early esophageal cancer has been as high as 90%, deep plowing technology at the same time, Tencent looking for the film also joined the relevant hospital Conducted artificial intelligence medical imaging research, which is the rhythm of the application of intelligent medical imaging technology.

It is reported that Tencent has found a shadow with a number of provinces and cities across the country more than a dozen top three hospitals established a joint laboratory, and gradually become the enterprise through the application of artificial intelligence technology to promote the wisdom of traditional industries typical.

Focus on foreign AI investment opportunities

In addition to earnest medical care, Tencent also expanded its capital activities to foreign countries, especially the United States, and is known as the most active investor in American AI. In fact, not only artificial intelligence has changed people's lives at the scientific and technological level, as well as VR and AR, but in fact it is hard to see VR or AR and AI combined technology projects, Tencent invested in such a company.

This is an American AI company called ObEN. Its main business is to create PAI (Personal Artificial Intelligence) for consumers and celebrities to bring a virtual social experience. To put it simply, AI-driven tools are used to create virtual trade-like VR avatars.

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It is understood that, ObEN builds personalized AI avatars with user-uploaded personal images and audio, and helps users manage and operate their own avatars. Lost stars, but also can create their own artificial intelligence image, with its interaction with fans.

Founded in 2014, ObEN, investors include Tencent, Softbank Korea Venture Capital, HTC VIVE X and other well-known companies, it is learned now and the block chain will also want to combine, play a two IP technology innovation.

According to the current statistics, Tencent has invested in 5 companies engaged in deep learning, visual learning, clinical artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence as a service.

Now, capital and AI chase war has started, in this field of AI capital scramble banquet feast, start-ups can enjoy "hugging thighs", but not bad money giants can also be freely "buy Buy to buy " However, the battalion commander wants to say more: In the future, the development of AI industry and the progress of enterprises will depend more on how technology can be better applied to the ground.

Finally, take a look at which companies BAT has been (GUA) funded (FEN) for reference purposes only.

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