Huawei launches server chip set as China pushes to cut the dependence on imports

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] on Monday launched a new chipset for use in servers, at a time when China seeks to improve the chip’s capabilities and reduce its dependence on imports, mainly from the United States.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a sign of Huawei at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai, China, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo/File Photo

Huawei, which receives the bulk of its revenues from the sale of telecommunications equipment and smartphones, is looking for growth avenues in cloud computing and enterprise services of its equipment, the company comes under increased surveillance in the West worry about the Chinese government’s influence on the company.

Huawei has repeatedly denied such influence.

Chinese companies are also looking to minimize the impact of a trade dispute that has seen China and the United States slap tariffs on other technology imports.

For Huawei, the launch of the chipset – the Kunpeng 920 and designed by the subsidiary HiSilicon – reinforced its reputation as a semiconductor designer, though the company said it had no intention to make only a chip company.

“It is a part of our system and cloud service for customers … We will never make our chipset business is a stand-alone business,” said Ai Wei, who is charged with the strategic planning for Huawei’s chipsets and hardware technology.

The Shenzhen-based company that already makes the Kirin series of smartphone chips that are used in the high-end phones, and the Ascend series of chipsets for artificial intelligence computing to be launched in October.

It said that the last 7 nanometer, 64-core CPU (central processing unit) give a much higher computing power for data centers and slash power consumption. It is based on the architecture of British chip design firm ARM – property of the japanese SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) – that is seeking to challenge the dominance in the server Cpu’s of the AMERICAN maker of Intel Corp. (INTC.O).

Huawei wants, “the development of the ARM ecosystem,” said the Chief Marketing Officer William Xu. He said that the chip has “unique advantages in performance and energy consumption”.

Xu also said Huawei will be “long-term strategic partnership” with Intel.

Huawei’s new ARM-based CPU is not a competitor of the AMERICAN company’s x86 cpus and servers, but complementary, Xu added.

Redfox Qiu, chairman of the intelligent computing business department of Huawei, said the company shipped 900,000 units of servers in 2018, versus 77,000 in 2012, when it started.

Huawei was seeing “good momentum for the server business in Europe and Asia-Pacific” and expected that the contribution of the international business to continue to rise, Qiu added.

Huawei on Monday released from the TaiShan series of servers powered by the new chipset, built for big data, distributed storage and ARM native applications.

The company was founded chip designer HiSilicon in 2004 to help reduce the dependence on imports.

In modem chips, Huawei internal sources 54 percent of the people in his own devices, with 22 percent coming from Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and the rest from elsewhere, data on an antitrust trial for Qualcomm showed.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Himani sarkar

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