Broadcom to Develop AI Chip Design for China

chip design, AI, ByteDance, Broadcom, AI chips

Broadcom, in partnership with ByteDance, is developing a new advanced AI chip design.

  • Broadcom’s AI chips are 5-nanometer application-specific integrated chips (ASIC).
  • The design will comply with the American export restrictions.
  • Once completed, Taiwan’s TSMC will handle manufacturing.

ByteDance and Broadcom are developing an AI chip design that complies with U.S. export restrictions, echoing AMD’s attempt at conducting business with China.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have been brewing for a long time, with the two powerhouses placing restrictions and sanctions on one another for decades now. However, there seems to have been an uptick in attempts to hinder or stop China, specifically its military, from achieving its AI goals. As a result, and not wanting its companies to completely stop doing business with China, the American government placed certain criteria that an AI chip design must meet for the chip to be allowed to be sold to China.

Since then, AI chip companies have been trying to comply; however, these efforts have been met with roadblocks and revoked licenses.

Playing by the Rules

According to two sources familiar who spoke anonymously with Reuters, China’s ByteDance is collaborating with American chip designer Broadcom to develop an advanced AI chip design. Taiwan’s TSMC will manufacture the final product, a 5-nanometer chip compliant with the U.S. criteria, also known as an application-specific integrated chip (ASIC).

However, despite the two companies working diligently on the AI chip design, manufacturing won’t start this year.

The sources told Reuters that Broadcom’s AI chips will decrease ByteDance’s procurement costs, which include fees and added expenses associated with purchasing supplies and materials. It also guarantees TikTok’s parent company a steady stream of high-end chips.

But It Might Not be Enough

Despite Chinese AI companies’ best efforts, their AI growth is stunted due to U.S. export restrictions. Nvidia’s AI chips, which boast the most advanced AI chip design on the market right now, cannot be sold to China because they exceed the limitations.

AMD modified one of its chips and tried to get it approved for sale in China. But it was met with roadblocks, as it was deemed too powerful despite its weaker chip design.

In another instance, the U.S. revoked export licenses, preventing several companies from supplying China’s Huawei with AI chips. These particular efforts forced Huawei to build its own AI chips. In fact, the whole ordeal had pushed the company into self-reliance mode.

The newest collaboration between Broadcom and ByteDance, who have been partners as early as 2022 at the least, may solve the AI chip shortage that is plaguing China’s AI sector. However, the American government may interfere before the AI chip design even leaves U.S. soil.

Final Thoughts

Broadcom and ByteDance are collaborating on an advanced AI chip design that TSMC will then manufacture. The chips’ success could open doors for the Chinese company that would otherwise be left locked until Chinese AI chip-makers catch up to the Americans. So, will Uncle Sam intervene like he has done before and damage the business relations between them?

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