More Chinese companies gear up in DPU blue ocean market full of both technical barriers and opportunities
Chinese article by 陈兴华
English Editor WM Zhang
05-25 16:25

By Miranda Li

Chinese internet giants and cloud service providers, including Alibaba and Tencent, have started researching and self-developing DPU chips to cut their data center's operating costs. Other companies followed suit and have begun to expand their business in the emerging and already competitive DPU markets, a JW Insights article reported.

Cloud computing giants Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud sought to develop various DPU functions using dedicated and self-developed chips. Alibaba Cloud's chip is X-dragon in the MOC card, the core component of the DPU server. 

These leading players also chose to invest in DPU startups — Tencent in Jaguar Microsystems (云豹智能) and ByteDance in Yunsillicon (云脉芯联).

Competition among the Chinese DPU startups is gaining momentum. With no unified technical standards yet, Corigine(芯启源), Yusur(中科驭数), Jaguar Microsystems, and Dayu (大禹智芯) are taking their own multiple parallel technical routes.

The development of big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence is driving soaring demands for computing power and expediting data center construction. The emerging DPU boosts a gradual change from data processing to "data-centric" logic to become a "third primary chip" after CPU and GPU. 

According to IDC statistics, the volume of global data has risen at a nearly 50% compound annual growth rate in the past ten years, with the demand for computing power doubling every four months. The geometric growth rate of data networking ports is consequently far faster than the figure based on Dennard's law and Moore's law.

Corigine's fourth generation SmartNIC

Source: Corigine

For the Chinese DPU players, there remain both higher technological barriers and domestic market advantages, said the JW Insights article. 

The Chinese central government departments have initiated a couple of national computing infrastructure projects, optimizing the resource in eastern and western China. It will bring new opportunities to domestic DPU companies. 

Chinese and overseas DPU manufacturers are basically at the same starting line in a vast market. Chinese DPU companies should strengthen in-depth cooperation with chip manufacturers, upstream and downstream manufacturers in the industrial chain, and other parties to establish compatible industry standards and a collaborative ecosystem with a global, open, and inclusive vision.

In addition to the data center, the typical DPU application scenarios include corporate network, telecommunications system, 5G communication, cloud, network security, storage, and embedded system. Chinese companies should continuously innovate at these application ends.

The global DPU market will be a blue ocean in the next few years. It is very likely that with the continuous investment of substantial capital, technologies, and talents, large powerful enterprises will eventually evolve into the leading force in the whole market. Many small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to take a share in the DPU market by building innovative, efficient, flexible, and applicable products in the vertical field.

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