Chinese tech giant Baidu responds to the US export ban by ordering AI chips from Huawei.
Chinese technology giant Baidu has ordered a large quantity of AI chips from Huawei for the first time, Reuters reports, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The order was placed in August, just before US export restrictions on chips and chip technology to China went into effect in October, which also affected products from Nvidia.
According to one of the sources, Baidu ordered 1,600 Huawei 910B Ascend AI chips, which were developed as an alternative to Nvidia’s A100 chip but are considered less powerful. However, they are said to be the most advanced domestic option in China.
“They were ordering 910B chips to prepare for a future where they may no longer be able to purchase from Nvidia,” a source told Reuters.
Baidu orders Huawei chips for around 62 million US dollars
The order is worth about 450 million yuan ($61.83 million), and Huawei is expected to complete delivery by the end of the year.
While this order is small compared to the thousands of chips that Chinese tech companies typically buy from Nvidia, it shows that Chinese companies may be turning away from U.S. companies – albeit involuntarily.
After the U.S. passed regulations last year banning Nvidia from selling its A100 and H100 chips to China, the company introduced the A800 and H800 chips as alternatives for Chinese customers. However, with the new regulations in October, Nvidia can no longer sell these chips to China.
Baidu and Huawei have been working together for some time
Huawei and Baidu have been working together since 2020 to make Baidu’s AI platform compatible with Huawei’s hardware. In August, the two companies announced that they would improve compatibility between Baidu’s AI model Ernie and Huawei’s Ascend chips.
Baidu has been developing its own line of AI chips but has mainly relied on Nvidia’s A100 chip to train its own language models.
When contacted by Reuters, none of the companies commented on the information.