Xiaomi IC deisgn remains under spotlight as subsidiary increases capital by nearly 30%

Amanda Liang, Taipei; Misha Lu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Xiaomi

After the dissolution of the Oppo's Zeku chip design team, Xiaomi CEO Lu Weibing emphasized during a recent financial briefing that the company's in-house chip design program is geared for a "long-term battle", likening it to a marathon. The clarification aimed to dispel external rumors about the suspension of Xiaomi's chip design program.

Coincidentally, Chinese media outlets, including the Southern Metropolis Daily and CNMO Mobile China, recently discovered through public records that Shanghai Xuanjie Technology Co., Ltd., a chip design and development company under Xiaomi, has increased its capital by nearly 30%, reaching CNY1.92 billion. Currently, it remains unclear if it comes from capital injection from external investors.

Compared to Oppo's ambitious attempt to speed up in-house development of mobile application and baseband processors, Xiaomi seems to opt for an incremental approach when it comes to developing IC design capability.

Xiaomi's CEO Lu Weibing indeed acknowledged that quick breakthroughs in in-house chip design capability is hard despite massive financial or manpower investments.

Although Xuanjie was established in 2021, it has already applied for 12 patents. Compared to Songguo Electronics - the company established by Xiaomi in 2014 for the development of its own Surge S1 chip - Xuanjie's establishment was seen as a crucial step for Xiaomi's in-house IC design endeavors.

Songguo Electronics developed the Surge S1 mobile SoC, which was announced in February 2017. However, there have been no announcements regarding S2.

In March 2021 though, Xiaomi introduced the image signal processor (ISP) Surge C1 during a product launch event, followed by the introduction of Surge P1 and Surge G1 chips for power management. The direction hints that Xiaomi is no longer pursuing an ambitious goal of developing mobile SoCs in the short term.