Following other cloud giants, Tencent introduced three in-house designed SoCs (one-chip integrated system) on Wednesday. The new SoC family includes an AI accelerator, a video transcoding processor, and a network processing unit.

Chinese tech giant Tencent offers dozens of cloud services and operates massive data centers in China. Like other cloud giants, Tencent has been developing its own data center infrastructure for some time. Now they have stepped into the chip design business with the goal of improving performance, reducing power consumption, lowering costs and gaining full control over software/hardware.

According to the South China Morning Post, Tencent’s first SoC lineup will include three units to be used in its own data centers:

  • Zixiao: An AI accelerator that can process images, videos, and natural language. The chip is already in ‘trial production’ and the performance is 100% better than competing products, according to a Tencent executive who didn’t provide details.
  • Canghai: A video transcoding unit that is said to be 30% better than current products when ready.
  • Xuanling: A high-performance network interface controller for cloud data centers that will be four times better than similar products, according to Tencent.

Just like other internet giants, Tencent supplies most of its data center needs with cool hardware from companies such as AMD, Broadcom, Cisco, Intel and NVIDIA. When they start using their own solutions, they will stop buying chips from this US-based company or they will minimize their dependency.

For now, the company’s goals do not include general-purpose processors or graphics processing units. On the other hand, let us remind you that Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Huawei already use their own SoCs in their data centers.

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Michael Lewis


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