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Nvidia founder says country major growth market

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-23 09:08

The booth of Nvidia Corp during an expo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. LONG WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Nvidia Corp's CEO said China continues to present significant growth opportunities, which showcases how much the US artificial intelligence chip company values the world's largest chip market, despite Washington restricting it from exporting two of its top chips to the country, experts said.

The comments came after Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang said at a news conference on Wednesday that cooperation between China and the US is beneficial to the world, adding that China is a great consumer of US-originated products and China is also a critical part of the global supply chain.

Bai Ming, deputy director of international market research at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said despite US government efforts to tighten chip export controls, US semiconductor companies continue to place great emphasis on the Chinese market.

"The logic is simple and clear — the Chinese mainland is too big a market for any chip company to ignore," Bai said.

Last month, Nvidia said it was being subjected to US license rules that restricted shipping high-end artificial intelligence chips, namely its A100 and H100 AI chips, to China. The two products are Nvidia's fastest chips and are used in data centers to speed up AI tasks such as natural language processing.

Huang said Nvidia is working with the Chinese clients to find alternatives, and the restrictions have specific thresholds for both the performance of a chip as well as the processor's ability to connect to other chips, which still leaves big room for Nvidia to ship its other products to China.

Huang also said China is a global manufacturing center and the nation has become a key node in the global supply chain.

As the US tightens export controls over chips, Chinese AI chip companies are seeking to achieve breakthroughs in crucial technologies and step up efforts to build an ecosystem for their products, as part of the nation's broader push to reduce reliance on US technologies.

Zhong Xinlong, a senior consultant at the China Center for Information Industry Development Consultancy, said the restrictions are targeted at chips used in high-performance computing, which will accelerate the development of domestic AI chip companies.

"Several Chinese firms have already unveiled mature high-end AI chip products. Though it will take time for high-performance computing projects to shift from US-made AI chips to domestic ones, given the latter's relative weakness in software compatibilities, the US restrictions will in fact spur the development of high-performance AI chips in China," Zhong said.

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