BEIJING -- Chinese quantum computing company Origin Quantum has raised additional funds in a Series A funding round in its bid to catch up with such leading players in the field as IBM and Google.
The round was led by China Internet Investment Fund, a government-affiliated fund, with additional participants, including China Reform Fund and CCB International.
The money raised will be spent on the development and production of quantum computers and quantum chips, and research on such core technologies as quantum measurement and control.
In the past, Origin Quantum raised funds in an angel round from such investors as CASSTAR.
Founded in 2017 as a spinoff from the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Origin Quantum is developing quantum computers based upon both superconducting and silicon dot technology.
The company's research and development operations are led by two top Chinese quantum computing scientists, Guo Guangcan and Guo Guoping. The core of the R&D team is composed of experts with computer science and physics doctorates from CAS. The R&D staff, which comprises mainly young experts born in the 1990s, makes up 75% of the firm's overall workforce. Headquartered in Hefei, in China's Anhui Province, Origin Quantum has branch offices in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and Shenzhen.
Origin Quantum is seeking to become a full-stack quantum computing company, which means doing everything from design and fabrication of quantum computing hardware based on quantum bits, or qubits, and quantum chips, to packaging the architecture needed to control the chips. It also offers a quantum computing cloud service that provides early hands-on experience with writing and testing software. Its key rivals are Google, IBM and Rigetti Computing, a Berkeley-based startup.
A quantum computer operates in a completely different manner from conventional computers, relying on the mind-bending ways some objects act at the subatomic level. A quantum machine processes bits built by scientists that can exist as both a 1 and a 0 simultaneously. So whereas conventional binary bits hold only two values, a pair of these so-called "qubits" can hold four values at once.
Last year, Origin Quantum unveiled its first superconducting quantum computer named Wu Yuan, which is powered by the KF C6-130, a 6-qubit superconducting quantum processor it has developed on its own.
The Wu Yuan is benchmarked against the machine announced by IBM in 2017.
The company has developed all the quantum computing technologies for the machine, including the chip, the measurement and control system, related software and a cloud service that enables developers to begin writing quantum software applications and simulating them on a quantum virtual machine.
Currently, the company's new 24-qubit computer is in the debugging stage and is expected to be launched in mid-February. It plans to roll out a 64-qubit machine at the end of this year or early next year.
Origin Quantum is about three years behind IBM in superconducting technology and two years behind Intel in quantum chip technology.
Origin Quantum has already announced more than 10 quantum chips including the first-generation 2-qubit quantum processor, dubbed XW B2-100, as well as the KF C6-130.
In November last year, Origin Quantum's joint research team with the University of Science and Technology of China reached a milestone in the development of new quantum chip architectures.
More than 100 companies have already subscribed to Origin Quantum's quantum computing cloud service. It has struck a number of deals to sell its quantum computers and related software and hardware.
36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.
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