Top GPU maker Nvidia told Caixin (in Chinese) on Wednesday that they will provide alternative GPU products to Chinese clients as many of them face imminent supply issues after the US government recently announced export bans on cutting-edge chips. 

Why it matters: The export ban from the US was aimed at limiting China’s expansion in AI and other tech fields that need high-performance GPU chips. 

  • California-headquartered Nvidia is one of two major GPU makers (the other being AMD) that are particularly affected by the ban. 

Details: Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, told Caixin and other media outlets that the alternative GPU chips will be built with their new Hopper architecture for Chinese clients, which enables them to sell the hardware without violating the export ban.

  • The Hopper architecture is adopted in the coming 4nm H100 GPU, which is nine times more powerful in large-scale training than the previous generation, the A100, according to Nvidia. However, the company has yet to reveal what it will do to bypass the ban and ensure the product can meet the new regulations.
  • The alternative chips can “fulfill most of the needs in China,” while for those clients who absolutely need the banned products, Nvidia could attempt to apply for licenses, Huang added.
  • Huang emphasized that China is an important market to Nvidia and many important partners and clients are based in the country, saying he believed “the market will still bring increased opportunities to the firm.”

Context: The mainland Chinese market accounted for 26% – or $7.11 billion – of Nvidia’s global revenue during its 2022 financial year, which ended on Jan. 30, 2022.

  • Nvidia’s revenue from the mainland Chinese market is more than 1.5 times that of the US market during the same period.
  • Last week, Taiwanese media outlet UDN reported that Nvidia had sent urgent orders to TSMC for banned GPU chips, including A100 and H100.

Ward Zhou

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a]technode.com or Twitter @zhounanyu.