Nvidia was one of the last tech companies to leave Russia once it declared war on Ukraine. Now it’s one of the first semiconductor firms to design and offer a chip the meets U.S. export controls to China. These controls serve to curb China’s development of AI technology fueling military operations.
One wonders if Nvidia had a choice. With flagging sales and growing competition from the likes of AMD and Intel, the data center chip manufacturer had to make a bold move to turn around its fortunes.
“The NVIDIA A800 GPU, which went into production in Q3, is another alternative product to the NVIDIA A100 GPU for customers in China,” an Nvidia spokesperson told Data Center Knowledge. “The A800 meets the U.S. Government’s clear test for reduced export control and cannot be programmed to exceed it.”
This development remains remarkable due to the timing. Nvidia announced the A800’s availability just one month after President Biden’s administration implemented stricter controls on chip and semiconductor exports to China.
“The PRC has poured resources into developing supercomputing capabilities and seeks to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. It is using these capabilities to monitor, track, and surveil their own citizens, and fuel its military modernization,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea D. Rozman Kendler on Oct. 7 during the announcement of tighter export controls.
While these controls give the U.S. government an advantage, U.S. chip manufacturers are left wondering how to fill the gap between earnings projections and actual quarterly results for their shareholders. The A800 may just be the gap-filler for Nvidia. The firm stated $400 million in chip sales were affected by the export controls to China.