Edge artificial intelligence solutions provider Kneron says it has raised $18 million in a Series A1 financing led by Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures.

Kneron CEO Albert Liu founded the company in San Diego in 2015. Kneron, which has also received investment from San Diego's Qualcomm Inc., has offices in San Diego, Taiwan's capital Taipei and the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai.

Edge AI refers to the relocation of computing power from the cloud to mobile devices, such as smartphones, allowing real-time AI recognition, inference and analysis to take place in the absence of a solid internet connection. Kneron says it has developed a processing unit dedicated to AI which provides high computing performance with low power consumption.

"Edge AI will be key to modern day AI applications by offering fast, efficient and safe AI processing solutions," said Horizons Ventures’ Jonathan Tam, in a May 31 announcement by Kneron.

The venture capital firm, which manages the private investments of recently retired billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing, invested early in companies such as DeepMind (acquired by Google), Siri (acquired by Apple), Skype (acquired by Microsoft) and Facebook.

Liu said the money raised will be used to accelerate product development for smartphones and smart devices for homes and surveillance. He also said in the May 31 announcement that Kneron would launch a "breakthrough" 3D AI solution in the second half of the year.

It's the second round of funding the company has raised in less than a year. In November Kneron said it raised a Series A of more than $10 million led by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, a nonprofit initiative launched by Alibaba Group in 2015, and CDIB Capital Group, the investment arm of Taiwan-based investment bank China Development Financial.

Reach reporter Sarah de Crescenzo at sarahd@sdbj.com.