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China's Huawei Unveils New AI Chips


China's Huawei Technologies Co. on Wednesday unveiled two new artificial intelligence computing chips, marking its push into a sector dominated by U.S. tech giants such as Qualcomm Inc., Nvidia Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Huawei announced the launch of its two new AI chips under the Ascend series at the third annual Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai, China. At the event, Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu also announced Huawei's AI strategy.

The Ascend 910 and Ascend 310 chips mark Huawei's AI capabilities at the chip level - the bottom layer of the stack. The company expects these chips to help accelerate AI adoption in all industries.

The Ascend 910 chipset is intended for data centers to perform complex AI tasks like programming algorithms. The Ascend 310 is aimed at inter-connected devices like smartphones, smart-watches and other devices connected to the so-called Internet of Things.

In August, Huawei toppled Apple Inc. (AAPL) for the first time to become the world's second largest smartphone seller, according to reports by several research firms. Huawei also narrowed the gap with market leader Samsung.

In September 2017, Huawei released Huawei Cloud EI, an AI service platform for enterprises and governments. Just months later, in April 2018, Huawei announced HiAI, its AI engine for smart devices.

The company said Wednesday that its full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio is designed to provide powerful support for Huawei Cloud EI and HiAI.

Amid rising trade tensions with the U.S., China is trying to reduce its technological dependence on U.S. companies and develop semiconductors as well as AI domestically.

As part of its ambitious "Made in China 2025" development plan, China has set its semiconductor industry a target of reaching $305 billion in output by 2030, and also meeting 80 per cent of domestic demand.

In September, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Holdings Ltd. (BABA) formally established a semiconductor business and said it plans to launch its first in-house developed AI chip in the second half of next year.

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