Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) chip developer Cambricon Technologies has axed around half of the jobs at its self-driving chip unit SingGo, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP), citing a news website

Citing sources familiar with the situation, reported that SingGo has suspended new projects and cut nearly half of the staff in its software departments while keeping only a small number of employees in hardware development.

The company’s Shenzhen branch also cut a few jobs.

Beijing-based Cambricon declined to comment on the development.

A person claiming to work for SingGo in China claimed to have been laid off and earned one month’s severance for every year of employment on the job-focused social networking site Maimai, SCMP said.

Established in 2016, Cambricon was regarded as a potential competitor to the top chip manufacturers in the world, including Intel and NVIDIA.

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In December 2022, the company was placed on a US trade blacklist due to suspicions that it could supply technology to the Chinese military.

If confirmed, this would be Cambricon’s second round of layoffs this year.

Cambricon is reported to have cut hundreds of jobs in April this year without allegedly providing employees any severance pay, according to the SCMP report.

SingGo was set up in 2021 with a focus on the development of chips and solutions for autonomous driving.

It counts businesses such as Shanghai-based SAIC, Nio, and CATL, a leading manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries as its investors.