Nvidia modifies flagship H100 chip for export to China

March 23, 2023 9:30 pm

The US-based Nvidia Corp., the industry leader in artificial intelligence (AI) chips, has modified its AI H100 chip to circumvent export restrictions so that it can be sold in China as the "H800."

Nvidia's two most cutting-edge chips, the A100 and the more recent H100, were prohibited from being sold to Chinese customers by US regulators last year due to national security concerns.

The rules said GPU exports must have chip-to-chip data transfer rates below 600 GBps.

In order to commercialize the A100 in China, Nvidia reduced the GPU's connection speed from 600 GBps to 400 GBps. The H100 is approaching the market in the same way.

At the GTC Spring 2023 conference, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang intervened in the conflict between his company and Chinese businesses by mentioning that the Hopper GPU will have a Chinese version that complies with US export regulations. That model of the H100 GPU will be marketed in China as the H800.

These processors are essential for creating generative AI products like OpenAI's ChatGPT and others.

Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, three of the biggest names in Chinese technology, are already using the H800. Due to ChatGPT's restriction in China, major tech companies are vying to develop a homegrown ChatGPT-like model for the Chinese market.

US policymakers enacted regulations last fall to halt China's advancement in crucial technological fields including semiconductors and artificial intelligence.