South Korean AI chip developers Rebellions and Sapeon to merge

South Korean AI chip developers Rebellions Inc and Sapeon Korea Inc are pursuing a merger, Sapeon parent SK Telecom said on Wednesday, in the latest attempt in South Korea to challenge global AI chip leader Nvidia as a boom in artificial intelligence continues.

The consolidation is aimed at winning the global AI semiconductor market within the next two to three years, a window of time South Korea must not miss as AI competition intensifies across the world, SK Telecom said in a statement.

The merged company will seek to gain a strong position in neural processing units (NPUs) used in AI, with Rebellions responsible for management of the merged entity.

AI chip startup Rebellions‘ ATOM chip, launched last year, was the first NPU developed in South Korea to be used in a data centre for a large language model (LLM) and entered mass production this year. Sapeon unveiled its next-generation X330 AI chip in November last year.

Given the speed of AI penetration into various applications, the merger is expected to be signed during the third quarter of this year, and the combined company launched by the end of the year, SK Telecom said.