You are here

Huawei launches server chipset as China reduces import reliance

Firm says move is part of system solution and cloud servicing for clients, and it will not become a chip firm

BT_20190108_KELHUAWEI8_3661870.jpg
The launch of the Kunpeng 920 chipset boosts Huawei's credentials as a semiconductor designer.

Hong Kong

HUAWEI Technologies Co Ltd on Monday launched a new chipset for use in servers, at a time when China is pushing to enhance its chip-making capabilities and reduce its heavy reliance on imports, especially from the United States.

Huawei, which gets the bulk of its revenue from the sale of telecommunications equipment and smartphones, is seeking growth avenues in cloud computing and enterprise services as its equipment business comes under increased scrutiny in the West amid worries about Chinese government influence over the firm.

Huawei has repeatedly denied any such influence.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

Chinese firms are also seeking to minimise the impact of a trade dispute that has seen China and the United States slap tariffs on each other's technology imports.

For Huawei, the launch of the chipset - called the Kunpeng 920 and designed by subsidiary HiSilicon - boosts its credentials as a semiconductor designer, although the company said that it had no intention of becoming solely a chip firm.

"It is part of our system solution and cloud servicing for clients . . . We will never make our chipset business a standalone business," said Ai Wei, who is in charge of strategic planning for Huawei's chipsets and hardware technology.

The Shenzhen-based company already makes the Kirin series of smartphone chips used in its high-end phones, and the Ascend series of chipsets for artificial intelligence computing launched in October. It said that its latest seven nanometre, 64-core central processing unit (CPU) would provide much higher computing performance for data centres and slash power consumption. It is based on the architecture of British chip design firm ARM - owned by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp - which is seeking to challenge the dominance in server CPUs of US maker Intel Corp.

Huawei aims to "drive the development of the ARM ecosystem", said chief marketing officer William Xu. He said that the chip has "unique advantages in performance and power consumption".

Mr Xu also said that Huawei will continue its "long-term strategic partnership" with Intel.

Huawei's new ARM-based CPU is not a competitor to the US company's x86 CPUs and servers, but complementary, Mr Xu added.

Redfox Qiu, president of the intelligent computing business department at Huawei, said that the company shipped 900,000 units of servers in 2018, versus 77,000 in 2012 when it started.

Huawei was seeing "good momentum for the server business in Europe and Asia-Pacific", and expects the contribution from its international business to continue to rise, Mr Qiu added.

Huawei on Monday also released its TaiShan series of servers powered by the new chipset, built for big data, distributed storage and ARM native applications.

The firm founded chip designer HiSilicon in 2004 to help reduce its reliance on imports.

In modem chips, Huawei internally sources 54 per cent of those in its own devices, with 22 per cent coming from Qualcomm Inc and the remainder from elsewhere, evidence presented at an antitrust trial for Qualcomm showed. REUTERS