June 21, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Computer Hardware

China still has access to high-speed NVIDIA AI chips!

Military institutions, AI research institutes, and universities in China can still obtain and purchase AI chips from NVIDIA, albeit in small quantities!

AMD + NVIDIA are banned from selling AI chips to China!

Both AMD and NVIDIA were tidy by the US government to stop selling high-performance AI chips to China and Russia on August 26, 2022. This ban was introduced to prevent both countries from using those high-performance AI chips for military purposes.

Effective immediately, the US government has banned the export of all AI chips that are equal to or faster than the NVIDIA A100 (and H100) or AMD Instinct MI250 chips. NVIDIA then created slower A800 and H800 AI chips for the Chinese market, but even those were also banned in October 2023.

Recommended : AMD and NVIDIA are banned from selling AI chips to China!

AMD and NVIDIA are banned from selling AI chips to China!

China still has access to high-speed NVIDIA AI chips!

In spite of the ban in progress As for the sale of high-performance AI chips to China and Russia, it appears that Chinese research institutes linked to the military can still source and purchase AI chips from NVIDIA, albeit in small quantities!

According to a Reuters report on January 14, 2024, public bidding documents show that dozens of military institutions, artificial intelligence research institutes and universities in China with ties to the military have purchased and received NVIDIA artificial intelligence chips from high performance like the A100 and H100. as well as the slower AI A800 and H800 chips.

  • Harbin Institute of Technology purchased six NVIDIA A100 chips in May 2023 to train a deep learning model
  • The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China purchased NVIDIA A100 in December 2022, for an unspecified purpose.

Both universities are subject to US export restrictions, although the sale of those AI chips is not illegal in China.

More than 100 tenders were identified in which Chinese state entities successfully purchased NVIDIA A100 and H100 chips, and dozens of tenders show successful purchases of the slower A800 chips.

  • Tsinghua University purchased two H100 chips in December 2023, as well as about eighty A100 chips since September 2022.
  • A laboratory of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology purchased an H100 chip in December 2023.
  • An anonymous People's Liberation Army (PLA) entity based in Wuxi attempted to purchase three A100 chips in October 2023 and one H100 chip in January 2024.
  • Shandong Institute of Artificial Intelligence purchased five A100 chips from Shandong Chengxiang Electronic Technology in December 2023
  • Chongqing University purchased an NVIDIA A100 chip in January 2024.

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China can still buy NVIDIA AI chips in small quantities

To be clear, neither NVIDIA nor its approved retailers supplied those chips. NVIDIA said it complies with all applicable export control laws and requires its customers to do the same:

If we learn that a customer has made an illegal resale to third parties, we will take immediate and appropriate action.

– NVIDIA Spokesperson

Although Chinese state entities appear to be able to purchase high-performance AI chips, the Reuters report also shows the effectiveness of the US ban on AI chips.

Training large AI models requires thousands of high-performance AI chips, and China does not appear to be able to acquire more than a handful of these critical chips.

That doesn't mean China is slowing down its AI initiatives. Instead of relying on “gray imports” of AI chips from AMD or NVIDIA, Chinese entities are doing their best to switch to local alternatives. In 2023, HUAWEI received orders for about 5,000 of its Ascent 910B chips.

Chinese mega companies like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent also have their own in-house AI chips like Kunlunxin Gen 2, Hanguang 800, and Zixiao.

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about technology and science since 1997, and even published a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking the BIOS barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while I was in medical school.

He continues to spend countless hours every day writing about technology, medicine, and science, in his search for facts in a post-truth world.


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