Origin Quantum, a Chinese quantum computer startup, sold its first device, making China the third country to have a commercial quantum computer enterprise, according to several media outlets.
According to the South China Morning Post, state media reported that the company sold its 24-qubit Wuyuan quantum computer to an unnamed customer about a year ago. The Wuyuan is based on a superconducting chip design.
Company officials label the Wuyuan as the country’s first “practical quantum computer.” It is not considered the first quantum computer built in China, but rather the first one developed for commercial uses. Prior quantum computers in China have been housed for academic uses and are among the devices that set records in delivering solutions far faster than classical computers, often referred to as quantum supremacy.
Because the Wuyuan sale is over a year old, it’s almost certain that Origin has more advanced versions of its system ready for commercial use. The company indicates that the next system, named Wukong, will be available soon.
The SCMP reported that Guo Guoping expects real-world benefits from its quantum computers within three to five years.
Last summer, the Hefei, China-based company closed a 1 billion yuan — or $148 million U.S. — Series B funding round.
The company was founded in 2017 by Guoping and other scientists, mostly from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of China’s most active ecosystems for quantum information science. That round was led by the government-backed Shenzhen Capital Group’s Hotland Investment Asset Management with additional participation from CITIC Securities and China International Capital Corporation (CICC), Bank of China Group Investment Limited (BOCGI) and several other Chinese investment institutions.
China now joins the U.S. and Canada as countries that host commercial quantum computing ecosystems.