The world’s largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining devices has entered a long-term agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s biggest telecom carrier in terms of mobile subscribers for the long-term development of artificial intelligence technology.
Bitmain executed a memorandum of cooperation with China Mobile (Hangzhou) Information Technology, a research vehicle of China Mobile, on December 7 at the China Mobile Global Partner Conference according to a report from ikanchai.com.
The two parties said that they would undertake “long-term close cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence,” with a focus on “digital homes, smart networks, smart security and smart tourism.”
Bitmain and China Mobile plan to use joint R&D projects and a joint AI lab to undertake cooperation in areas including AI visual chips and AI visual edge computing, as well as pursue research into core AI capabilities and AI standardised products including AI edge networks, AI edge computing and visual structural analysis.
Bitmain has bold ambitions for expansion into China’s AI sector, with CEO Wu Jihan expecting it to become the source of 40% of company revenue within a five year period.
Analysts believe that Bitmain emerged as China’s second largest chip design company after Huawei’s HiSilicon in 2017, with the official launch of its first generation AI chip the Sopohon BM1680 towards the end of last year.
In October Bitmain held an AI product launch event in Beiing to officially launch its second generation neural processor the Sophon BM1682, as well as products including the Edge TPU BM1880, the SA3 smart server, the SE3 embedded AI mini-computer, and 3D facial recognition technology.
Bitmain also has ambitions to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with the submission of a share prospectus on 26 September.