By Kate Yuan
The U.S. AI chip leader Nvidia announced on September 1 that “the U.S. government has authorized exports, reexports, and in-country transfers needed to continue its development of H100 integrated circuits", according to several Chinese press including JW Insights.
On August 31, Nvidia said it was subjected to new U.S. license rules restricting shipping high-end AI chips to China.
A popular Weibo account in Chinese said that Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang confirmed the U.S. requests in an internal email and would provide best alternative products to Chinese customers.
The company also said it accepted $400 million orders from Chinese companies this quarter for the sale of two key AI chips used in machine-learning tasks.
“The U.S. government authorized A100 and H100 order fulfillment and logistics through the company's Hong Kong facility through Sept 1, 2023,” said Nvidia.
China Daily reported that the news of restrictions on Nvidia's export of the two chips to China evoked sharp reactions from officials and experts who said the ban would seriously affect the interests of U.S. enterprises concerned and further weigh down on the global semiconductor industry and supply chains.
Wang Wenbin, spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference early on Thursday the U.S. approach is typical of technological hegemony. He said the U.S. has repeatedly overgeneralized the concept of national security, abused national power, and attempted to use its own technological advantages to contain and suppress the development of emerging markets and developing countries.
Shu Jueting, spokeswoman of the Commerce Ministry of China, said Washington has continuously abused export control measures to restrict the export of semiconductor items to China for a period of time.
Such practices deviate from the principle of fair competition and violate international economic and trade rules, Shu said, adding the moves not only damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, but also seriously affect the interests of US enterprises, hinder international scientific and technological exchanges, and harm economic and trade cooperation.
AMD, another U.S. chipmaker, also said it had received new license requirements to stop its export of MI250 AI chips to China but believes its MI100 chips will not be affected.
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 U.S. restrictions will in fact fuel the development of high-performance AI chips in China,” China Daily quoted Zhong in the report.