Baidu’s Shifts to Huawei AI Chips
Baidu, a prominent Chinese AI company, has decided to procure artificial intelligence chips from Huawei, indicating a significant shift away from Nvidia. This transition aligns with the increasing influence of U.S. restrictions on Chinese firms’ choice of chip suppliers.
The August Order
Sources reveal that Baidu, which operates the Ernie large language model (LLM), initiated the order in August, anticipating stricter U.S. regulations related to chip exports to China, including those from Nvidia. The move underlines Baidu’s proactive approach to diversify its chip sources.
Huawei’s 910B Ascend AI Chips
Baidu placed an order for 1,600 Huawei Technologies’ 910B Ascend AI chips, an in-house alternative to Nvidia’s A100 chip. These chips were intended for 200 servers. By October, Huawei had already delivered over 60% of the order, translating to roughly 1,000 chips.
Order’s Total Value
The order’s approximate value is 450 million yuan ($61.83 million), and Huawei has committed to delivering the remaining chips by year-end. Both parties have kept the details of the deal confidential.
Significance of the Shift
While this order might seem small in comparison to the substantial chip orders that Chinese tech giants have traditionally placed with Nvidia, it holds significance. It serves as an illustration of how certain companies are exploring alternatives to Nvidia, given the impact of U.S. restrictions.
Baidu’s Historic Ties with Nvidia
Baidu, alongside tech peers like Tencent and Alibaba, has a history of being a prominent client of Nvidia for AI chips. This shift to Huawei reflects the changing dynamics in the industry.
This move by Baidu exemplifies the evolving landscape of AI chip procurement in China, influenced by geopolitical pressures and the pursuit of resilient supply chains.