A new report suggests that Huawei is looking to make waves in the hugely competitive discrete GPU market. South Korean news outlet The Elec reports that Huawei aims to create a ‘Cloud and AI Business Group’ to try and pierce into the NVIDIA and AMD dominated graphics market. Huawei is reportedly recruiting former and current employees and executives from NVIDIA to bolster the ranks of the nascent department.
Now, before we jump the gun and conjure up visions of Huawei challenging NVIDIA in the consumer GPU space, that isn’t currently the plan. Huawei is likely to target the server market first – typically, where new companies test the waters with new products before jumping to the consumer market.
Even then, Huawei’s path to dominance wouldn’t be so clear cut, due primarily to the ongoing strife between the US and Huawei around privacy and spying issues.
The US has already effectively banned Huawei in its territory thanks to a line on the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List, which prevents US businesses from trading with Huawei in any shape or form. Not having access to the lucrative US market would put a dampener on even Huawei’s best laid and best-funded plans to rival NVIDIA and AMD in the GPU space.
As for what Huawei may have in store in terms of graphics products, the 7nm process Ascend 910, launched in August 2019, provides insight into what Huawei can bring to the table. The Ascend, dubbed the world’s most high-quality AI processor, pushes out a staggering 256 Teraflops, which equates to about twice the speed of NVIDIA’s 12nm process Tesla V100.
Huawei’s GPU ambitions remain reportedly very much in the planning stage, so it may be a while before we see the fruits of the new initiative, at which point we’ll get a better grasp of whether Huawei can indeed rival NVIDIA as it hopes to do.