Import Restrictions


[Insights] Taiwanese Manufacturers Minimally Affected by New US GPU Restrictions, while Chinese Focused on In-House Chip Advancement

The US Department of Commerce issued new restrictions on AI chips on October 17, 2023, with a focus on controlling the export of chips to China, including NIVIDA’s A800, H800, L40S, and RTX4090, among others. Taiwanese manufacturers primarily serve cloud service providers and brand owners in North America, with relatively fewer shipments to Chinese servers. However, Chinese manufacturers, having already faced two chip restrictions imposed by the US, recognize the significance of AI chips in server applications and are expected to accelerate their in-house chip development processes.

TrendForce’s Insights:

1. Limited Impact on Taiwanese Manufacturers in Shipping AI Servers with H100 GPUs

Major Taiwanese server manufacturering companies, including Foxconn, Quanta, Inventec, GIGABYTE, and Wiwynn, provide AI servers equipped with H100 GPUs to cloud data centers and brand owners in Europe and the United States. These Taiwanese companies have established some AI server factories outside China, in countries such as the US, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand, focusing on producing L10 server units and L11 cabinets in proximity to end-users. This strategy aligns with the strategic needs of US cloud providers and brand owners for global server product deployment.

On the other hand, including MiTAC, Wistron, and Inventec, also provide server assembly services for Chinese brands such as Inspur and Lenovo. Although MiTAC has a significant share in assembling Inspur’s servers, it acquired Intel DSG (Data Center Solutions Group) business in July 2023. Therefore, the focus of AI servers remains on brand manufacturers using H100 GPUs, including Twitter, Dell, AWS, and European cloud service provider OVH. It is speculated that the production ratio of brand servers will be adjusted before the new restrictions are enforced.

Wistron is a major supplier for NVIDIA’s AI server modules, DGX A100, and HGX H100. Its primary shipments are to end-users in Europe and the United States. It is expected that there will be adjustments in the proportion of shipments to Chinese servers following the implementation of the restrictions.

Compal has fewer AI server orders compared to other Taiwanese manufacturers. It has not yet manifested any noticeable changes in Lenovo server assembly proportions. The full extent of the impact will only become more apparent after the enforcement of the ban.

During the transitional period before the implementation of the chip ban in the United States, the server supply chain can still adapt shipments based on local chip demand in China to address market impacts resulting from subsequent chip controls.

2. Chinese Manufacturers Focusing on Accelerating In-House Chip Development

Chinese cloud companies had already started developing their AI chips before the first U.S. chip restrictions in 2022. This included self-developed AI chips like Alibaba Cloud’s T-HEAD, a data center AI chip, and they expanded investments in areas such as DRAM, AI chips, and semiconductors with the aim of establishing a comprehensive IoT system from chips to the cloud.

Baidu Cloud, on the other hand, accelerated the development of its third-generation self-developed Kunlun chip, designed for cloud and edge computing, with plans for an early 2024 release.

Tencent introduced three self-developed chips in 2021, including an AI inference chip called Zixiao, used for Tencent’s meeting business; a video transcoding chip called Canghai, used in cloud gaming and live streaming applications; and a smart network card chip named Xuanling, applied in network storage and computing.

ByteDance made investments in cloud AI chips through its MooreThread initiative in 2022 for applications in AI servers. Huawei released the Ascend 900 chip in 2019 and is expected to introduce the Ascend 930B AI chip in the latter half of 2024. While this chip has the same computational power as the NVIDIA A100 chip, its performance still requires product validation, and it is speculated that it may not replace the current use of NVIDIA GPUs in Chinese AI servers.

Despite the acceleration of self-developed chip development among Chinese cloud server manufacturers, the high technological threshold, lengthy development cycles, and high costs associated with GPU development often delay the introduction of new server products. Therefore, Chinese cloud companies and brand manufacturers continue to purchase NVIDIA GPUs for the production of mid to high-end servers to align with their economic scale and production efficiency.

In response to the new U.S. restrictions, Chinese cloud companies have adopted short-term measures such as increasing imports of existing NVIDIA chips and building up stockpiles before the enforcement of the new restrictions. They are also focusing on medium to long-term strategies, including accelerating resource integration and shortening development timelines to expedite GPU chip manufacturing processes, thus reducing dependency on U.S. restrictions.


[News] Nvidia says US speeded up new export restrictions on AI chips

Nvidia has announced that the White House’s embargo on exporting advanced artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China will take effect earlier than anticipated, with no expected significant impact on the company’s short-term earnings.

On October 24th, Nvidia issued an announcement through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), stating that the U.S. government had notified that the temporary final rule of October 18, titled “Implementation of Additional Export Controls: Certain Advanced Computing Items; Supercomputer and Semiconductor End Use; Updates and Corrections,” would be immediately enforced. This rule is applicable to products related to data centers with a “total processing performance” of 4800 or higher. Nvidia’s affected products include A100, A800, H100, H800, and L40S.

Nvidia clarified that the originally scheduled implementation of the authorization provisions would have occurred 30 days after the regulations were issued on October 17. Given the strong global demand for Nvidia products, the early enforcement of the U.S. government’s authorization provisions is not expected to significantly affect its financial reports in the near future.

According to Reuters, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is also impacted by the White House’s export ban, did not respond to media inquiries, and the U.S. Department of Commerce declined to comment.

Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon had previously noted that AMD’s current AI chip “MI250” on the market may also face constraints due to the latest restrictions, and the forthcoming “MI300” could encounter challenges.

Intel, which began selling the “Gaudi 2” chip in China in July 2023, stated that the company is “reviewing the regulations and assessing the potential impacts.” Intel had previously developed a specialized version of Gaudi 2 to comply with the advanced chip export ban imposed by the Washington authorities in 2022.
(Image: Nvidia)



India Defers Import Restrictions on Electronics, Divergent Approaches by Taiwanese and American Brands

According to reports in the Indian media, India has decided to delay the implementation of import restrictions on electronic products such as laptops, tablets, and servers. This delay pushes the commencement date to November 2023. As a result, Taiwanese, American, and Chinese laptop manufacturers are now reevaluating their production strategies in India and expediting their applications for importing electronic goods.

  • Page 1
  • 1 page(s)
  • 3 result(s)