Tencent Developing Three SoCs Set to Replace Western Processors

(Image credit: Tencent)

Hot on the heels of other cloud giants, Tencent on Wednesday introduced three system-on-chips designed in house that will first complement and then replace various processors designed by western companies like Intel or Nvidia. The list of SoCs includes an AI accelerator, a video transcoding processor, and a network processing unit. 

Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent offers dozens of various cloud services and operates massive datacenters in China. Just like other cloud giants, Tencent has been developing its own datacenter infrastructure for a while. Now, in in a bid to increase performance, cut power consumption, reduce costs, and get a complete control over its software and hardware, Tencent has ventured into chip design.

Tencent's initial lineup of SoCs will include three devices that will be used in its own datacenters, reports South China Morning Post:

Zixiao — an AI accelerator that can process images, videos and natural language. The chip is already in 'trial production' and performance is 100% better than competing offerings, according a Tencent executive who did not elaborate. 

Canghai — a video transcoding unit that is said to be 30% better than existing offerings when it is ready.

Xuanling — a high-performance network interface controller for cloud datacenters than will be four times better than similar products, according to Tencent, though it is unclear which criteria were used for the comparison.  

Just like other Internet conglomerates, Tencent has been historically using processing hardware from companies like AMD, Broadcom, Cisco, Intel, and Nvidia for the majority of its datacenter needs. Once it gets its own AI, video processing, and network processing into its datacenters, it will naturally reduce (and eventually cease) buying chips from the aforementioned U.S.-based companies.  

For now, Tencent's ambitions do not officially include general-purpose processors or graphics processing units. Meanwhile, Chinese companies like Alibaba and Huawei already run homegrown general-purpose SoCs in their datacenters. 

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • vern72
    OK, now I want Nvidia to buy ARM.
  • derekullo
    Four Times Better Than

  • stairmand
    Didn't the government mandate them to stop buying foreign chips in the next couple of years? I suspect they are comparing to previous Chinese designs, which were pretty terrible.

    Always glad to see new competition though.
  • It was to be expected. US trade war witch China only speed up the process.
  • TCA_ChinChin
    Interesting progress and I guess its a start for domestic chips, but like @stairmand said, if its compared to previous indigenous designs, that's still pretty terrible. If it's against recent or even something one or two gens ago from Intel/Nvidia/AMD, it would be actually quite a decent design.