Tesla blogs propagate fake news of chip joint venture, but why?

Several Tesla blogs are reporting that Tesla created a joint venture to produce computer chips with a company that is clearly fake.

The reason behind the strange situation is unclear.

Over the last few days, Tesla blogs, including Teslarati and Tesmanian (with the latter having been promoted recently by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter), have reported that Tesla has “set up a semiconductor joint venture with Switzerland’s Annex Semiconductor” in China.

The report claims that Tesla, along with Annex, have invested $150 million to start the new joint venture and produce automotive chips.

Teslarati called Annex “a formidable partner” for Tesla and “among the global leaders in automotive system-on-chip (SoC), microcontroller (MCU), and processor, image sensor, and power device products.”

The only problem is that the company is fake.

It looks like the blogs only copy pasted from a report from Chinese website Ijiwei without verifying any of the information.

I asked a few sources in the semiconductor business, and no one had ever heard of Annex Semiconductor.

After researching Annex, I couldn’t find anything about the company other than its own website and the new reporting from the Tesla blogs.

As for the website, it triggered my bullshit meter as it appeared extremely generic. My suspicions were confirmed when all the phone numbers on the contact page didn’t work, and I couldn’t find a single employee linked to the company.

The links to the company’s social media accounts were also not working, and I couldn’t find an actual social media presence. The address of its headquarters is not real, and all the other supposed offices don’t have any listed addresses.

On their website, they have a picture of “their chip”, which is obviously an AMD Ryzen chip with ‘ANNEX’ photoshopped onto it (badly I might add):

The reports from Teslarati and Tesmanian also both mentioned that Annex Semiconductor was bought by Zurich Fund back in June for $5 billion. The publications didn’t bother to verify that, either.

Zurich Fund also appears to be a completely made-up company. The website has the same design as Annex’s, and it is also full of vague and generic information. Its “our people” page actually profiles two executives, but they are both made up with stock images for their profiles:

I couldn’t find anyone matching those names and profiles. Like Annex, the only reference that I could find about the Zurich Fund is a press release about it buying Annex in June. No other information about the company is available nor does anyone claim to be working for the company.

That’s not normal for a company that is able to buy a chip maker for $5 billion.

However, the subterfuge is somewhat complex since the people behind t even bothered to create an ‘Investor Relations’ section with actual reports in them and even a Chairman’s letter to investors, but a simple Google of the text shows that whoever is behind this ploy simply lifted the text from Blackstone’s Chairman’s Letter and changed the names.

Top comment by EhCanadian

Liked by 36 people

Why? The writers at Teslarati and Tesmanian are most likely TSLA stock owners (and there's a good chance Tesla owes them a free Roadster from the earlier referral program). They have every reason to pump Tesla.

View all comments

Furthermore, a look at Annex’s website index suggests that it was created in China, which is strange for a company that is supposed to be Swiss.

In conclusion, there’s nothing pointing to Annex being a real company, and even less so pointing to it being a $5 billion leader in automotive chip-making partnering with Tesla.

Electrek’s Take

It’s a good reminder to be careful about what you read online. Even publications that claim to be experts in a subject, such as Tesla, often post things without ever bothering to look into the sources.

But it raises the question: Why the subterfuge? So far, I couldn’t find a clear reason for making up the fake companies and the partnership with Tesla beyond tricking lazy reporters. If there’s a company whose stock it would have helped, I couldn’t find it, but that’s a possibility. If you have any idea, let us know in the comments section below or reach out to me at fred@electrek.co.

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