TikTok owner ByteDance explores self-designed chips as China aims for semiconductor self-sufficiency

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  • ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok, is exploring designing chips for its own use in specialized fields because it hasn’t been able to find suppliers that can meet its requirements.
  • The chips will be customized to deal with workloads related to ByteDance’s multiple business areas including video platforms, information and entertainment apps, the spokesperson added.
  • ByteDance’s semiconductor push plays into two major themes — an increasing focus from companies to create chips for specific purposes as well as Beijing’s desire to become stronger in this fundamental technology.

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TikTok owner ByteDance is looking into designing its own chips, joining a slew of Chinese internet giants focused on semiconductors as Beijing tries to become more self-sufficient in the critical technology.

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ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok and more recent gaming successes, is exploring chips-design for its own use in specialized fields because it hasn’t been able to find suppliers that can meet its requirements, a spokesperson told CNBC.

The chips will be customized to deal with workloads related to ByteDance’s multiple business areas including video platforms, information and entertainment apps, the spokesperson added.

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ByteDance won’t be manufacturing chips for sale to other companies. The social media giant has multiple job openings on its website for roles related to semiconductor design.

The Beijing-headquartered firm’s push into semiconductor design plays into two major themes — an increasing focus from companies to create chips for specific purposes, as well as the Chinese government’s push to become stronger in this fundamental technology.

Companies from search giant Baidu to e-commerce and cloud titan Alibaba have released their own self-designed chips in the past few years, even though these companies don’t have a traditional background in semiconductors.

But custom-designed chips are a way for these firms to create specific components for what their businesses require rather than buying one off-the-shelf from another company.

However, Chinese firms still require contract chipmakers, usually foreign companies, to actually manufacture the parts for them. This is similar to what Apple does for its iPhones.

Meanwhile, semiconductors — which go into everything from smartphones to cars — are seen as a major battleground between the US and China amid a broader technology war.

China has for years invested heavily into boosting its domestic chip industry, but it has struggled to catch up with rivals in the US and other parts of Asia. More recently, Beijing has stepped up its push for self-sufficiency in semiconductors but still relies heavily on foreign technology.

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Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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