Xiaomi picks up 6% stake in chip designer VeriSilicon

Smartphone major Xiaomi has picked up roughly 6 percent stake in chip designer VeriSilicon Holdings.
Xiaomi China shop
The strategy of the China-based smartphone maker is to revamp its years-long pursuit of success in semiconductors which it sees as central to driving innovation.

VeriSilicon in a filing to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) published online on Thursday revealed a fund run by Xiaomi became its second-largest external shareholder in June.

The report said VeriSilicon’s biggest external shareholder is the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, a national-level fund for the domestic semiconductor industry.

VeriSilicon is headquartered in Shanghai and has research and development centers at home and in the United States. It works as a contractor to other chip companies, helping them complete additional parts of semiconductor design.

Xiaomi is the fourth-biggest smartphone supplier worldwide in the first quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC.

The company launched a semiconductor division in 2014 and three years later announced its first system-on-a-chip, the Surge S1. The chip featured in Xiaomi’s Mi 5 smartphone but was not rolled out more widely.

Xiaomi in an internal memo in April stated that it would spin off part of its chip division into a subsidiary called Big Fish focused on making chips for internet-of-things devices.

Huawei’s chip-making business HiSilicon makes Kirin processors for its smartphones, which can compete with chips from Qualcomm.

E-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding last year purchased Chinese chipmaker C-Sky. Its chief technology officer later said the firm will unveil its first artificial intelligence chip in the second half of 2019.