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Baidu Turns to Huawei for AI Chips, Moving Away from Nvidia

In a significant shift, Baidu, one of China's leading AI firms, has placed an order for artificial intelligence chips from Huawei, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Credit: Reuters

This move indicates that Chinese companies are increasingly accepting Huawei's products as an alternative to those offered by Nvidia, under pressure from the United States.

The order, which was placed in August, comes ahead of new rules imposed by the U.S. government that tightened restrictions on chip exports to China. Baidu ordered 1,600 of Huawei's 910B Ascend AI chips, developed as an alternative to Nvidia's A100 chip, for its servers. By October, Huawei had already delivered over 60% of the order, with the remaining chips expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

Although the order is relatively small compared to the volume of chips historically ordered by top Chinese tech firms from Nvidia, it is seen as significant. It demonstrates that some companies are willing to shift away from Nvidia and explore domestic alternatives. Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba have long been clients of Nvidia, but this is the first known AI chip order from Huawei by Baidu.

While Huawei's Ascend chips are considered to be less powerful than Nvidia's, they are currently the most sophisticated domestic option available in China. The order from Baidu indicates that they are preparing for a future where they may no longer be able to purchase chips from Nvidia.

Both Baidu and Huawei declined to comment on the matter, while Nvidia chose not to provide a statement.

  • Baidu, a leading Chinese AI firm, has ordered AI chips from Huawei, signaling a shift away from Nvidia.

  • The order was placed in August, ahead of new U.S. restrictions on chip exports to China.

  • Baidu ordered 1,600 of Huawei's Ascend AI chips, with over 60% already delivered.


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