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New US Export Controls Not Having Major Impact on China AI Sector, Report Says

U.S. export controls imposed against China’s semiconductor industry in October (see 2211010042) are so far having “only minimal effects” on the country’s artificial intelligence sector, Reuters reported May 3. Although the rules restricted shipments of certain chips “that have become the global technology industry's standard for developing chatbots” and other AI systems, including chips supplied by Nvidia, the U.S. technology company has created “variants of its chips for the Chinese market that are slowed down” to comply with the new license requirements, the report said.

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But even slower Nvidia chips are an “improvement” for Chinese firms, the report said, adding that China’s Tencent estimated in April that systems using Nvidia's H800 chip “will cut the time it takes to train its largest AI system by more than half, from 11 days to four days.” Charlie Chai, a Shanghai-based analyst with 86Research, told Reuters that some Chinese AI companies view the new U.S. controls “as relatively small and manageable.”

Nvidia told Reuters that the October rules “require that we create products with an expanding gap between the two markets,” adding it’s complying with the restrictions “while offering as-competitive-as-possible products in each market."