Heightened competition among leading Silicon Valley-based companies over the past few years has led to the poaching of well-known specialists as well as high profile hires. But poaching doesn’t just happen in the United States. Biren Technology, a Chinese AI GPU developer, has hired Yang Chaoyuan, who previously led Nvidia’s R&D operations in Shanghai, China.
Biren was established in 2019 with the goal of developing a GPU specifically designed for AI workloads, such as training and inference. Designing a general-purpose GPU to address AI and other emerging workloads is easier than developing a true GPU for gamers because it doesn’t require a highly efficient memory subsystem or complex pilots. So there are several startups working on various AI accelerators. days.
Biren reportedly planned to register his first chip using 7nm process technology last year, although we don’t know if he actually registered the processor. To significantly boost its future research and development capabilities, Biren this week hired Yang Chaoyuan, the former general manager of Nvidia Shanghai, who has extensive experience in GPU development. Yang Chaoyuan is a graduate of the University of California and brings more than 35 years of experience at companies like Nvidia and TSMC to Biren. His accomplishments include establishing Nvidia’s first R&D center outside the United States as well as his work in the R&D arm of TSMC.
At Biren, Yang Chaoyuan will serve as vice president as well as special assistant to the president, which appears to be an important position. Although he does not lead R&D at Biren, as an assistant to the chairman he could have an influence on the company’s strategic development. Yang Chaoyuan is an important recruit for Biren, but the major challenge for Biren today may not be the lack of high-level engineering managers, but rather sufficient funding. Modern chips are notoriously expensive to design and those costs will only increase in the years to come.
Biren Technology received $170 million in Series A funding in 2020, which is a lot of money. However, developing and implementing a moderately complex FinFET-based 7nm chip costs around $300 million. Whether Biren manages to create a competitive product remains the question.