Kangzhi Integrated Circuit (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. has added a number of shareholders including Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund Partnership, and the registered capital has increased from about 1,627,000 yuan to about 1,844,100 yuan.
Behind this change is an equity financing from Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund and Hupan International Investment disclosed by Kangzhi Integration. Among them, Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund Partnership holds 5.73% of the shares and is the sixth largest shareholder.
Kangzhi Integrated was established in August 2017. It is a manufacturer of SERDES chips for intelligent vehicle high-definition video transmission. Its products are mainly AIM digital series. The official website shows that its product application scenarios include streaming media rearview mirror, driving recorder, central control/navigation IVI, smart cockpit, automatic driving/automatic parking, digital instrumentation, HUD (head-up display), 360 panoramic ADAS, DMS/OMS / Electronic rearview mirror, etc.
The founder of Kangzhi Integration is Liu Wenjun, who is also the chairman of the company. According to an interview Liu Wenjun accepted in 2018, he went to the United States to study in the 1980s and 1990s, stayed in Silicon Valley after graduating in 1992, and joined Philips Semiconductors in 1996 with more than six years of work experience.
In 2003, Liu Wenjun decided to start a business in Silicon Valley, which was the first time in his life. The business focuses on his old line of business — video and image processing chips. Five years later, the company was acquired by another Nasdaq-listed company. In 2015, he joined Huawei US Labs on a Chip as Chief Multimedia Scientist.
In 2017, he left to found the current Kangzhi Integration, the first product aimed at the information transmission of in-vehicle video. In fact, before the company was established, the founding team conducted research on most car companies and Tier 1 suppliers in the market, and finally completed the product selection. It took only one year from demo to mass production samples.
It seems that this is a founding team with strong execution, and Liu Wenjun also has certain confidence in his own products. In the aforementioned interview, he directly benchmarked the company’s products against Texas Instruments and Maxim, saying that its chip performance exceeded the two by about 30%, but it could not compare with them in terms of resources.
The emergence of Kangzhi integration means that the gap in the on-board chip area of Xiaomi cars has not been filled.
According to statistics, Xiaomi has invested nearly ten times in automotive chips, including high-end control chip company Qixinwei, intelligent driving chip company Black Sesame Intelligence, in-vehicle communication chip company Yutai Microelectronics, and high-performance analog and mixed-signal chip company Juxin Micro, automotive-grade MCU chip company Yuntu Semiconductor, sensor chip company Lingming Photonics, silicon carbide semiconductor company Zhanxin Electronics, etc.
Xiaomi’s investment in this area is second only to autonomous driving. For new energy vehicles, under the premise that the cruising range cannot make a great difference, autonomous driving and the ride experience in the smart cockpit are the two major factors that determine consumers’ purchasing preferences in addition to appearance.