Alibaba releases RISC-V processor made in China

July 26, 2019 // By Julien Happich
RISC-V processor
Giant online retailer Alibaba announced the release by its recently acquired semiconductor division, Pingtouge, of a processor core based on the RISC-V open-source architecture. The Xuantie 910, as it is called, will be able to power advanced applications such as edge computing and autonomous driving.

While most RISC-V processors are aimed at low compute-budget IoT applications, the new orocessor is claimed to be over 40 percent more powerful than the current best RISC-V processors. Of course, being made in China, the new processor offers an alternative to any western-based designs and circumvents attempts from the Trump administration to cut all chip supplies to Huawei. The Xuantie 910 core could not only fuel the chips Chinese companies need for their electronics industry, it could come up at a reduced design and manufacturing cost and seduce designers abroad.

Indeed, Alibaba also announced it license the new IP to chipmakers, releasing parts of related code on public repository GitHub to stimulate related development.

The open-source nature of RISC-V also mitigates risk of Chinese firms losing access to Arm architecture, noted an analyst at Reuters, as Arm publicly announced it would no longer supply its chips to Huawei, complying with the blacklisting of the Chinese company by the US administration.

Last year, a large group of companies, academic units and research institutes in China formed the China RISC-V Industry Consortium to explore independent chip designs.

Related articles:

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