In the aftermath of the October 17 sanction updates against China that saw US export controls extending into downgraded versions of Nvidia AI GPUs tailored for the Chinese market, a race has been underway among Chinese tech companies to stockpile the relevant chips before the new regulations come into effect.
Martin Lau, Tencent President, indicated that the sanctions have prompted the company to use the currently available chips more efficiently, in addition to seeking domestic AI inference chip alternatives, as reported by various media, including Reuters and Ijiwei. According to Lau, Tencent has already stockpiled enough Nvidia chips to continue the development of its AI model known as Hunyuan for "at least a few more generations." As a result, the Tencent chief executive claims that the latest sanctions won't impact the company's AI capabilities in the short term.
"In fact, we are among the Chinese companies with the largest stockpiles of AI chips," noted Lau, "we are the first company to order H800, allowing us to have a sufficient stockpile of H800 chips." Liu revealed that Tencent will seek to reserve AI chips with the best performance to training asks, while allocating those with lower performance to inference tasks.
Despite the preventive measures taken, the Tencent chief executive still sees the US sanctions impacting the company's AI cloud service.