US adds high-end GPUs to China AI embargo

US adds high-end GPUs to China AI embargo

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The US government has told Nvidia Corp. to stop selling its A100 and H100 advanced GPUs into China without a special license, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

The move represents the latest increase of pressure from the US administration on China as these Nvidia chips are often used in volume in data centers to perform artificial intelligence processing. It is thought the same restrictions will impact Advanced Micro Devices’ MI250 AI chips.

Nvidia was informed on August 26 of a new licensing requirement being imposed by the US government that covers the A100, the H100 and any future chips of similar or better performance. The US government is apparently concerned about systems that could be used for military applications.

Nvidia did announce that the US has allowed exports and tech transfers as needed to complete the development of the H100 chip. It added that the US government has authorized the company to perform exports needed to provide support for US customers of A100 through March 1, 2023, and allowing it to fulfil orders of the chips via its Hong Kong facility through September 1, 2023.

China startups

Nvidia said the new licensing regime could cost it $400 million in sales to China in its third fiscal quarter.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reportedly criticized the move as being typical of US “sci-tech hegemony.”

“With its technological advantages, the US has been abused the concept of national security and its state power to crack down the development of emerging economies and developing countries,” Wang was reported as saying.

Though China is home to a number of startups aspiring to make chips that can compete with Nvidia and AMD, these domestic players only conduct R&D in an early stage. Nvidia accounts for around 95 percent of China’s AI and supercomputing chip market.

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