SK Group has made a massive equity investment in a Chinese company that designs semiconductors capable of recognizing objects. These artificial intelligence (AI)-based chips are used for autonomous vehicles.
Industry sources and Reuters said on Feb. 28 that SK China and SK Hynix participated, along with local venture capital companies, in a US$600 million (about 670 billion won) funding round for Horizon Robotics. SK China is an investment company set up by SK Group.
Horizon said that the latest funding round has boosted the company’s corporate value to about US$3 billion. Although the size of each company's investment remains under wraps, industry experts believe that SK China and SK Hynix invested at least US$300 million, given that they led the funding round.
Considering that Horizon has already been cooperating with SK Telecom for the development of AI-related self-driving technology, SK Group's investment is seen as a strategy to forge a comprehensive partnership with global companies in a wide range of fields including memory semiconductors and 5G-based autonomous driving.
Reuters says that Horizon is a promising technology venture that not only leads the autonomous navigation project of China's top search portal Baidu, but also provides hardware and software for Audi to help the German carmaker receive a license for self-driving tests in China. Intel Capital also made an equity investment in Horizon Robotics in 2017.