Huawei to launch new AI Ascend chip, expand industrial layout to confront US crackdown

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/21 21:08:40


Photo: IC

Huawei is expected to launch its artificial intelligence (AI) Ascend 910 chip on Friday, a further expansion into the AI sector and move to realize its chip strategy amid the US' intensified crackdown on the Chinese telecommunications giant.

The company is also to launch its new open-source AI computing framework MindSpore on Friday.

The release of its chips - from the Kirin series of smartphone chips and the Kunpeng series used in servers, to the Ascend series of chipsets for AI computing - the company is being "forced to do everything along the industry chain," in an effort to prevent a further block from the US, industry analysts said.

On Monday, the US Department of Commerce announced that it had put 46 additional subsidiaries of Huawei on its Entity List, although it will extend the temporary general license, which allows certain US companies to continue supplying Huawei for another 90 days.

Analysts said the 90-day extension will only push the company to reduce its reliance on US companies such as Intel and Qualcomm further by increasing investment in key technologies such as chips and its self-developed HarmonyOS.

Jiang Junmu, chief writer at telecom industry news website, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the release of the chip had been expected. It is in line with the company's overall AI development strategy, Jiang said. 

It actually came a bit late than planned, said Jiang, who said that the delay was partly due to the US ban, which started in May.  

"The Friday release means the Ascend chip will be put into commercial use and mass production," Jiang said.

Huawei unveiled its Ascend chipset series in October 2018, including the Ascend 910, which is claimed to have the greatest computing density in a single chip and the Ascend 310, with an extremely efficient system-on-a-chip for low-power computing that can be used in smart devices. 

The Ascend 910, with the network architecture called Da Vinci, was to hit the market in the second quarter of 2019, Huawei's rotating CEO Xu Zhijun said at the time.

"Based on the information Huawei has released, the Ascend chips could also challenge US players such as Qualcomm and Nvidia," Jiang said.

Huawei has stressed several times that its self-developed chips are not for sale but for its own use.

"Huawei's AI strategy is to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem," Xu said, when talking about the company's AI strategy in October 2018. 

The company has been striving to build a complete ecosystem, which no company in the world could do independently now, Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

To further expand its AI layout, Huawei is expected next to release AI servers and IT infrastructure, Jiang said.

Newspaper headline: Huawei to launch new AI chip, expand layout

Posted in: COMPANIES

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