The U.S. Department of Commerce has unveiled a set of new export restrictions on advanced artificial intelligence chips, including Nvidia’s A800 and H800 chips, with the objective of controlling China’s access to high-performance semiconductors. The move is part of an effort to close loopholes that emerged following previous restrictions on AI chip exports.
These restrictions are expected to have significant implications for chip manufacturers and could potentially impact companies such as Intel and AMD. Additionally, the rules will likely hinder the sale and export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment from firms like Applied Materials, Lam, and KLA to China.
Last year, the U.S. implemented restrictions on the sale of Nvidia’s H100, which is widely used by AI firms in the United States. In response, Chinese companies turned to a slightly slower version, the H800 or A800, to comply with U.S. regulations. However, the new regulations will now prohibit the export of these alternative chips as well.
The new restrictions have caused fluctuations in the stock market, with shares of chip-related companies, including Nvidia, Broadcom, Marvell, AMD, and Intel, experiencing declines. Read Here: AMD to Strengthen AI Capabilities with Acquisition of Nod.ai in Pursuit of Nvidia
The U.S. government’s primary goal with these restrictions is to prevent China from accessing advanced semiconductors that could be utilized for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, especially in military applications. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasized that the aim is not to hinder Chinese economic growth but to control access to computing power that could be leveraged for military purposes.
The U.S. plans to limit the export of data center chips exceeding specific performance thresholds, which were set in October. The new restrictions will also consider a performance density threshold measured in flops per square millimeter. Companies wishing to export AI chips to China or other embargoed regions will be required to notify the U.S. government.
Furthermore, the list of semiconductor manufacturing equipment subject to U.S. restrictions is expected to expand. However, export controls will not apply to chips used in consumer products like game consoles or smartphones, though companies may still need to inform the Commerce Department about such orders if the chips surpass specific performance criteria.
To prevent potential loopholes, the U.S. government is also addressing how chips are shipped to companies headquartered in China or other embargoed regions. Commerce Secretary Raimondo emphasized that the new restrictions will only impact a small fraction of chip exports to China, and she pointed out that China will continue to import a substantial amount of semiconductors from the United States.
Read Official Report: Foxconn and NVIDIA Amp Up Electric Vehicle Innovation
The new rules will undergo a 30-day period of public notice before going into effect. Despite the market’s initial response, the long-term impact on companies like Nvidia remains uncertain, as the demand for their products continues to be strong worldwide.