The US government is restricting further exports of AI chips to China. This is to prevent a Chinese AI breakthrough – especially for military purposes.
Nvidia’s H800 and A800 AI chips may no longer be sold to China due to new U.S. export regulations, CNBC reports, citing senior U.S. officials. The rules are intended to close loopholes and increase the effectiveness of the controls, which were introduced in October 2022.
Following the introduction of the export rules, which affected exports of Nvidia’s A100 and H100 AI chips to China and Russia, among other countries, the company introduced scaled-down variants of the chips, the A800 and H800, suitable for China and other affected markets. In August, the Biden administration imposed further export restrictions on the sale of AI hardware to certain Middle Eastern countries. This was partly due to concerns that the chips could end up in China or that Chinese companies could train their AI models in local data centers.
The new restrictions could also affect chips from AMD and Intel and are expected to take effect in less than 30 days.
U.S. regulations aim to prevent AI breakthrough in China
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the goal of the regulation is to deny China access to advanced semiconductors that could enable breakthroughs in artificial intelligence – particularly for military purposes. She said the restrictions affect only a small portion of total chip exports to China and are not aimed at hurting China’s economic growth. “The fact is China, even after the update of this rule, will import hundreds of billions of dollars of semiconductors from the United States,” Raimondo said.
Nvidia released an SEC filing Tuesday saying the restrictions apply to the A100, A800, H100, H800, L40, L40S, and RTX 4090 chipsets, as well as complete systems sold with those chipsets, such as the DGX and HGX systems.
Nvidia does not expect meaningful impact on financial results
A company spokesperson declined to comment to me on whether these restrictions will actually completely prevent sales of A800 and H800 GPUs in China. He reiterated Nvidia’s official statement on the matter, “We comply with all applicable regulations while working to provide products that support thousands of applications across many different industries. Given the demand worldwide for our products, we don’t expect a near-term meaningful impact on our financial results.”
Details of the rules can be found on the Bureau of Industry and Security website.