AMD Meets Resistance Selling AI Chip Tailored for China

The US notified Advanced Micro Devices that the AI chip it designed for the Chinese market is still too powerful to sell without a license from the Commerce Department, throwing up a roadblock for the company’s exports of advanced technologies. While the processor performs at a lower level than what AMD sells outside of China, it must still obtain a license from Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security to sell it. It’s unclear whether AMD will seek the license. 

Tighter controls restricted Nvidia’s sale of a processor specifically for China — in compliance with the export rules. The company has since developed new customized, less powerful processors for the Chinese market to align with the 2023 restrictions, and the Commerce Department is still reviewing new components.

The US is limiting Chinese access to cutting-edge semiconductors that can develop AI models — and the tools used to manufacture those chips, concerned that China will gain a military edge. 

AMD is now going after the AI chip market more aggressively, recently launching a M1300 lineup to challenge processors from Nvidia. It’s unknown which  Chinese customer was trying to buy the AMD AI chips, which may influence whether the company is able to secure a license.

Meanwhile, Huawei is now developing its own AI semiconductors and chipmaking capability that could eventually work around the  US ban.

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