SCMP: Chinese cloud computing services provider UCloud flags risk of securing orders of Nvidia’s advanced chips amid high demand against tightened US curbs
Chinese article by 爱集微
English Editor 张未名
07-07 15:53

By Kate Yuan

(JW Insights) Jul 7 -- Chinese cloud computing services provider UCloud Technology (优刻得) faces uncertainty in securing Nvidia’s A800 advanced chips as tightened US export restrictions on such chips continue to impede China’s AI development efforts, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on July 4.

Founded in 2012, Shanghai-based UCloud offers infrastructure-as-a-service and AI service platforms to internet firms and traditional enterprises. It went listed on the STAR Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2020.

The company told investors on July 3 that its orders of Nvidia’s A800 graphics processing units (GPUs), which are allowed for export to China, have arrived gradually and have had “limited contribution” to the company’s operations.

“The procurement cycle of the company is affected by various factors, and there are uncertainties in terms of the delivery time and quantity of the remaining GPUs we ordered,” UCloud wrote in response to investor inquiries about its A800 order through the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s online question-and-answer platform, adding it will continue to follow up on the supply.

During its latest roadshow with bankers, UCloud said that it had placed orders for Nvidia’s A800 and H800 GPUs, which are both modified versions for export to China of the highly in-demand A100 and H100 products, but declined to reveal the quantity of its purchase, according to a separate filing by the company.

UCloud announced those orders in June along with its launch of cloud infrastructure equipped with high-performance computers specifically for the development of AI models, a new offering designed for various domestic initiatives to create ChatGPT-like services.

That UCloud service and Chinese firms’ AI development initiatives, however, have been undermined by a US government ban imposed last August on the export to China of certain products from chip suppliers Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia, which has a near monopoly on GPUs used to train AI systems, said the SCMP report.

For now, major Chinese companies are still eager to snap up Nvidia GPUs in the market because there are few viable alternatives available.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, for example, introduced in April new servers for large-scale AI model training that are based on Nvidia’s H800 GPUs. TikTok and Douyin owner ByteDance has reportedly ordered US$1 billion worth of GPUs from Nvidia this year, said the SCMP report.

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