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First standardized, mass-produced quantum chips sold to overseas market

By Chai Hua in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-29 09:39

SpinQ Technology has become the first Chinese company to deliver superconducting quantum chips overseas, according to the Shenzhen-based quantum computing startup.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the company said the chips had been supplied to a research institution in the Middle East.

Computing capability with quantum chips is exponentially greater than current classical computing, making it a vital research direction in the computing industry. Quantum computing chips are the processors for quantum computers, but their mass production is full of challenges, including ensuring the consistency and stability of quantum bits, as well as technological difficulties in material processing, measurement and control.

In April this year, SpinQ Technology released its superconducting quantum chip called Shaowei.

According to the firm, it is one of the few standardized and mass-produced superconducting quantum chip products globally.

Among various hardware systems, superconducting quantum technology utilizes a stable all-solid-state system that is easy to manipulate, couple and read, while it also allows for the reuse of mature semiconductor processing technology.

Located in the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, the firm has established a superconducting quantum computer research center and a superconducting quantum chip production line.

SpinQ Technology, established in 2018, has sealed deals with multiple companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Xiang Jingen, the firm's founder and CEO, said they will continue enhancing the internationalization strategy, and promoting the common prosperity of the global quantum computing industry chain through more international technological cooperation and exchanges.

In 2020, the company launched a programmable desktop quantum computer called Gemini, and a portable quantum computer called Gemini Mini.

A classical computing bit can have a value of either 0 or 1, but quantum bits, or qubits, can have a value that is either 0, 1 or a quantum superposition of 0 and 1.

"This enables quantum computers to process exponentially faster than classical computers," said Li Dianfei, director of Guangdong Semiconductor Industry Association.

He said computing is one of the popular applications of quantum chips and the technology can bring breakthroughs in areas such as encryption, simulating complex systems and optimization problems.

Besides computing, Li said that such chips can also empower communications and sensing industries.

According to the latest report by global consulting firm McKinsey &Co, the estimated market value of quantum computing could reach as much as $93 billion by 2040, while the total potential of the quantum technology market is expected to hit $106 billion by the same year.

Last year, quantum scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for their research on entangled photons. Global technology giants, including Google, IBM and Intel, have been heavily investing in the field. Many Chinese companies are also scrambling to establish a beachhead.

Origin Quantum, a startup founded in 2017, established China's first trial production line for quantum chips in Hefei, Anhui province, and its superconductor chip production line was put into operation last year.

The Quantum Science Center of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was established in Shenzhen last year with the aim of becoming a "Quantum Silicon Valley".


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