Naver, Intel forge partnership to build AI chip ecosystem, challenging Nvidia's reign

Jessica Tsai; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

South Korean Internet giant Naver is reportedly collaborating with Intel to establish an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chip ecosystem, sparking concerns about whether this partnership could break Nvidia's dominance in the AI chip market in the future.

According to reports from South Korean media outlets IT Chosun and JoongAng Ilbo, Naver is working with Intel to explore various collaboration options. The partnership will likely involve building an AI chip ecosystem, with related technical details expected to be announced as early as April 2024.

This collaboration was reportedly initiated by Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger himself after hearing about Naver's chip replacement plans. In October 2023, Naver replaced the Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) utilized in its services with Intel central processing units (CPUs).

However, most forecasts remain optimistic that Nvidia will continue to dominate the AI chip market for at least five years. Consequently, Naver's collaboration with Intel may aim to mitigate its reliance on Nvidia.

Nvidia offers GPU products tailored for AI applications and boasts an open development ecosystem that integrates software and hardware. Hence, it poses a significant challenge for competitors to replace Nvidia.

Given these circumstances, Intel, which manufactures AI chips, and Naver, which operates AI services, may also seek to collaborate on solutions aimed at potentially displacing Nvidia in the future. Intel has introduced its own AI accelerator, Gaudi, while Naver has developed its proprietary large language model (LLM), Hyper Clova X, which it utilizes to power various generative AI services.

Naver had previously opted for Nvidia products for its AI services, which led to issues such as high costs and limited chip supply. Naver CEO Choi Soo-yeon remarked at a recent regular shareholders' meeting that chip costs have become the biggest headache since the advent of the AI era

Naver also stated that although it maintains a cooperative relationship with Intel, there is currently no definitive decision regarding the contents of the collaboration.