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US Secretary Gina Raimondo warns NVIDIA against chip redesign for China market

Written by Wed 6 Dec 2023

The US Commerce Department, led by Secretary Gina Raimondo, has issued a warning to NVIDIA Corporation regarding its ongoing efforts to redesign its chips for the Chinese market following export restrictions.

NVIDIA’s strategy has involved modifying its chips to align with the restrictions, allowing continued exports to China. However, Secretary Raimondo, speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, expressed the Government’s firm stance against such practices.

“We cannot let China get these chips, period. We are going to deny them our most cutting-edge technology,” she said.

Since the initial sanctions, NVIDIA has adapted by releasing various chip models, including the H800/A800. More recently, NVIDIA released the HGX H20, L20, and L2 chips for the China market.

These redesigns are seen as direct responses to evolving US export restrictions, particularly targeting total processing performance (TTP) and performance density (TD) metrics.

Raimondo added: “If you redesign a chip around a particular cut line that enables them to do AI, I’m going to control it the very next day.”

The Commerce Department, responsible for managing export controls, is seeking additional funding to effectively enforce these restrictions. With a current budget of £158.8 million ($200 million), Raimondo emphasised the need for more substantial resources.

“If we are serious, let’s go fund this operation like it needs to be funded,” she added.

Raimondo also acknowledged the challenges facing American companies following the export controls, including potential revenue losses due to compliance with national security priorities.

“I know there are CEOs of chip companies … who were a little cranky with me when I did that because you are losing revenue. Such is life. Protecting our national security matters more than short-term revenue.

Raimondo concluded by stressing the importance of national security, even as diplomatic efforts continue to stabilise US-China relations.

“On matters of national security, we have got to be eyes wide open about the threat. This is the biggest threat we’ve ever had and we need to meet the moment,” added Raimondo.

China responded to these remarks, underscoring the fragility of recently stabilised ties.

“The US should stick to the right perception and work with China to deliver on the common understandings reached in the San Francisco meeting,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin

Image Source: World Economic Forum

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Written by Wed 6 Dec 2023

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