Thu, Oct 11, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Huawei challenges rivals with AI chips

MADE IN CHINA:The chips are also to power the firm’s autonomous vehicles, for which it is building cloud computing services and dedicated data centers


Huawei Technologies Co (華為) has overtaken Apple Inc in smartphones.

Now it wants to take on some of the US’ largest technology companies in semiconductors.

Chinese’s largest telecom gear and mobile phone maker yesterday unveiled its latest Ascend series chips, machine-learning capable workhorses that it says can go toe-to-toe with designs from Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp.

It is also introducing cloud computing services and dedicated data centers for autonomous vehicles that are to run off those chips, delving deeper into territory staked out by Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴).

The push into artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud marks Huawei’s attempt to build a Chinese technology empire that could compete against the world’s top players — an effort that has raised hackles in the US.

Growing concerns about the security of Huawei’s gear and supposed ties to the Chinese government are putting pressure on its overseas operations.

In response, the company says it is a privately run corporation keen on working with global partners.

“Huawei’s AI strategy is built on top of continued investment in basic technologies and talent training,” chairman Eric Xu (徐勇) told the Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai.

The AI chips underpin that strategic thrust and align with Beijing’s express intention to build a domestic semiconductor industry that could wean China off foreign imports.

Huawei already designs AI-capable “Kirin” processors for its own smartphones, shipments of which pulled ahead of Apple for the first time in the second quarter.

The Kirin line can, among other things, adjust computing resources based on usage.

It is already by some reckonings the world’s largest provider of networking equipment to wireless carriers, outstripping the likes of Ericsson with growing sales in Europe.

However, the company is facing more scrutiny, damaging its overseas business that generates about 70 percent of its total revenue.

It continues to be shut out of the US, which fears its equipment poses a security threat.

A growing number of developed markets such as Australia now bar the company’s telecom equipment out of similar security concerns.

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