It looks like the Chinese smartphone maker and electronics giant Xiaomi is planning to take its chip-design plans seriously. According to a new report, the company has acquired about 6 percent stake in VeriSilicon Holdings, a chip designer. This move is likely a stepping stone towards the eventual goal of designing its own chips in the future. The information about this stake acquisition comes right around the time when the Chinese government has identified silicon chips as “one of several sectors” where the country wants to become self-reliance. The push towards self-reliance is part of the new “Make in China 2025” initiative that China is pushing towards.
Xiaomi did not officially announce the acquisition of the stake. The internet however uncovered the transaction in regulatory filings. According to a report by Reuters, VeriSilicon revealed this information in a filing to China Securities Regulator Commission (CSRC). The filing revealed that Xiaomi was now the “second-largest external shareholder” in the company. Xiaomi did confirm the deal but it did not reveal any other information about the deal. The largest external shareholder of VeriSilicon is “China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund”. For the people unaware, it is a centralized fund for the domestic semiconductor that works on the national level.
The report revealed that VeriSilicon headquarters are located in Shanghai. The company also has a number of research and development centers in China and the United States. It is worth noting that VeriSilicon does not design complete chips. Instead, it works with other chip companies as a contractor. The company helps the giants in completing “additional parts of semiconductor design”.
Xiaomi and its efforts in creating a custom processor
The report also noted that Xiaomi first established its semiconductor division back in 2014. After four years of research, the company launched its first SoC called the Surge S1 in 2018. Xiaomi also launched its Mi 5C along with the Surge S1 processor. However, the company only launched the Mi 5C smartphone in the Chinese market. The company has not launched or announced another custom processor in the market ever since. The last major thing that the company announced came as part of an internal memo. According to the memo, the company is planning to spin off the semiconductor division as a separate subsidiary called “Big Fish”. “Big Fish” division will focus on making custom chips for IoT devices.