TikTok owner recruiting engineers to design in-house chips

TikTok owner recruiting engineers to design in-house chips

ByteDance, a Chinese company best known for its app TikTok, is building a new unit dedicated to designing in-house computer chips.

TikTok owner recruiting engineers to design in-house chips

The IT giant posted a list of 31 job vacancies for engineers and programmers familiar with chip design. By utilizing their knowledge and skills, ByteDance intends to become an autonomous microprocessor developer that would not depend on Western solutions and licenses, South China Morning Post reports.

In conversation with journalists, ByteDance representatives confirmed their interest in the semiconductor industry. The company reported exploring the possibility of designing specialized chips that could be used for its own products. According to ByteDance, that way the company will be able to support the computing needs of its services, since new microchips will make it easier for the developer to process TikTok user-generated content. Also, the chips will be needed for the brand’s future products. However, ByteDance is not planning to manufacture chips itself and will rely on contract chipmakers to do this.

The company’s website currently shows 31 vacancies, spanning positions that cover the entire chip design cycle, including intellectual property core design and system-on-a-chip tapeout.

Interestingly, it was specified in one of the ByteDance job postings that the company is looking for a “back-end chip design engineer” with experience in chip-making for the 12-nanometer and 7-nanometer processes. These solutions are not the best options for new smartphones, laptops and PCs but are optimal for data processing centers and local servers. Generally, such chips are designed and provided by three U.S. companies: Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. If the new unit is successful, ByteDance will be able to dispense with the companies’ services.

“Big cloud companies are investing in chips to save costs by using Arm-based chips. Instead of going with general-purpose chips from Intel, AMD and NVIDIA, these cloud vendors are trying to build purpose-built AI accelerators to save costs and get better performance per watt,” explained Sravan Kundojjala, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. 

Mr. Kundojjala also pointed out that Chinese companies are increasingly trying to introduce their own equipment. However, China is currently unable to mass produce advanced chips using processes smaller than 10 nm. Xiaomi, Oppo and other major IT companies are already working to resolve the issue.


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