US blocks Nvidia AI chip exports to China


China has condemned a US move to end access to high-end processors from chipmaker Nvidia after Washington stepped up its efforts to restrict the export of advanced technology to its trade and military rival.

US officials have told Nvidia to stop selling to Chinese companies two of its chips designed for artificial intelligence, the company said in a filing Wednesday. The government is imposing a licensing requirement on all products that include the A100 and future H100 integrated circuits used in the machine learning processes that improve AI systems.

The order will take effect immediately for chips destined for China and Russia, and will be extended to all future products that can match the A100 in performance.

The move marks the latest salvo from the US to restrict technology exports to China over fears it could be used for military purposes. Washington has imposed restrictions on technology exports to a number of Chinese companies and has focused on the country’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency.

Chinese Foreign Ministry official Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that the US was trying to impose a “technological blockade” on China. He said the ban showed the US was trying to maintain its “technological hegemony”.

Nvidia said Washington had indicated the new licensing requirement would address the risk of products being used or diverted to military users in China and Russia. It added that it will not be sold to customers in Russia. Shares of the company fell 5.7 percent in early trading in New York.

The representative of China’s Ministry of Commerce, Shu Jueting, said the move undermines the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and the stability of global industrial and supply chains.

Nvidia said in a filing that it was “in talks with customers in China” and “trying to meet their planned or future purchases of our data center products with products not subject to the new licensing requirement.”

Analysts at investment bank Jefferies said the largest users of the chipsets in China were cloud service providers and large Internet companies. There were no direct local replacements, they said, and an alternative would be to use multiple Nvidia lower-end processors that weren’t banned. This attempt to replicate the processing power would not achieve the same speeds and incur a much higher cost, she added.

Nvidia said about $400 million in potential sales to China this quarter may be impacted by the new licensing requirement.

Shares of the chipmaker fell 6 percent in premarket trading on Thursday on the news, which also hit the shares of other semiconductor companies. Nvidia rival Advanced Micro Devices told Reuters news agency it had received new licensing requirements that would prevent its MI250 AI chips from being exported to China.

The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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