Nvidia chief visits China for first time in years

By Dat Nguyen   January 23, 2024 | 07:36 pm PT
Nvidia chief visits China for first time in years
Nvidia president and CEO at the company's new year party. Photo courtesy of Nvidia
Jensen Huang, President and CEO of California-based artificial intelligence chip designer Nvidia, recently visited China for the first time in years, to attend the company's new year party with local employees.

Last week, Huang traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen in Guangdong province in a low-key manner, according to a report by China Daily, which cited sources with knowledge of the matter.

Social media videos captured Huang dressed in a traditional outfit, dancing at Nvidia's new year party in Shanghai.

Huang's trip did not include meetings with government officials, as it was primarily focused on spending time with Nvidia's employees in China, Yicai Global reported.

Major Chinese cloud companies are favoring domestic chips, like those from Huawei, over Nvidia's less advanced AI chips. This development is linked to U.S. restrictions on exporting Nvidia's most advanced AI chips to China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In October, the U.S. revised export controls on advanced AI chips to China. As a result, Nvidia's RTX 4090 chipset, a top-performing graphics card in the consumer market, is now banned from export to China.

"Huang's trip may have been in response to US government restrictions on Nvidia's exports of chips to China. Nvidia may need to seek cooperation with local Chinese players to ensure that its products have access to the Chinese market," Zhang Xiaorong, director of the Beijing-based Cutting-Edge Technology Research Institute, told the Global Times.

The chip designer has commanded more than 90% share of China's $7 billion AI chip market, according to Reuters.

Nvidia employs nearly 3,000 people in China, working in marketing, sales, research, and development. Before the pandemic, Huang regularly visited Nvidia's Chinese units annually to attend their year-end parties.

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