Korean news outlet The Elec has received word from its industry sources that Huawei will be taking a crack at the server graphics card market this year. If true, Huawei will have its work cut out for the tech giant since the company will have to compete against veterans, such as Nvidia and AMD, and eventually, newcomer Intel.
According to the report, Huawei will setup up shop at Korea under the newly created Cloud and AI Business Group. Huawei Korea is presently comprised of the Carrier, Enterprise and Consumer divisions. The Cloud and AI Business Group will report directly to the Enterprise division.
Huawei has reportedly already begun building up its roster. The Elec believes that the corporation is trying to attract current and former talent from Nvidia to help pursue its goals. Huawei obviously has no lack of resources or infrastructure. With the right amount of talent around the company, Huawei could turn out to be a worthy rival.
Last year, Huawei launched the Ascend 910 AI chip that it claims is capable of delivering up to 256 TFLOPS of half-precision (FP16) performance, which would be twice as fast as Nvidia's Tesla V100, and to 512 TOPS of INT8 compute performance at 310W. Huawei's silicon is even one step ahead of Nvidia in terms of manufacturing process: The Ascend 910 is based on TSMC's N7+ process node, while the Tesla V100's GV100 die uses the 12nm process. Huawei's Ascend 910 would eventually make its way into the brand's own Atlas 300 PCIe 4.0 accelerator card.
Huawei's desire of stepping into the server graphics card market isn't a coincidence either. We suspect China's ambitious "3-5-2" initiative to replace all foreign hardware and software in public and government institutions by 2022 probably played a big role in Huawei's strategic move. China already has its domestic companies and other joint ventures producing homemade operating systems, motherboards, and processors, such as Zhaoxin's latest KaiXian KX-U6780A.
Sourcing chips might prove to be a problem for Huawei as a recent report reveals that the U.S. is in preparation to prevent TSMC from doing business with the Chinese tech giant. If that happens, Huawei will probably have to find comfort in other arms, such as Samsung or China's own SMIC.
Graphics cards might be the last piece to China's self-sufficiency, and ultimately that's where Huawei comes in. If the company successfully produces a competitive server-class graphics card, Huawei might expand its offerings to the consumer market, too.