Huawei to beat Qualcomm, Nvidia with new AI chips


BEIJING • Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has overtaken Apple Inc in smartphones. Now, it wants to take on some of America’s largest technology companies in semiconductors.

Chinese’s largest telecommunications gear and mobile phone maker yesterday unveiled its latest Ascend series chips, machine-learning capable workhorses that it said can go toeto- toe with designs from Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp.

It’s also introducing cloud computing services and dedicated data centres for autonomous vehicles that will run off those chips, delving deeper into territory staked out by Inc, Microsoft Corp and rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The push into artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud marks Huawei’s attempt to build a Chinese technology empire that can compete against the world’s top players — an effort that’s raised hackles in the US.

“Huawei’s AI strategy is built on top of continued investment in basic technologies and talent training,” chairman Eric Xu told the Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai.

The company’s AI chips underpin that strategic thrust, and align with Beijing’s express intention to build a domestic semiconductor industry that can gradually wean China off foreign imports. Huawei already designs AI-capable “Kirin” processors for its own smartphones, shipments of which pulled ahead of Apple for the first time in the second quarter. The Kirin line can, among other things, adjust computing resources based on usage.