Intel to Introduce AI Chips with Limited Capabilities for Chinese Market

In response to U.S. export controls and sanctions, Intel Corporation has announced plans to release two AI chips tailored for the Chinese market, albeit with reduced capabilities compared to their standard counterparts.
Intel 4th Gen Xeon Scalable ProcessorsThe AI chips, named HL-328 and HL-388, are slated for launch in June and September, respectively, according to a white paper published on Intel’s website dated April 12. This strategic move aligns with Intel’s commitment to comply with regulatory requirements while maintaining a presence in the Chinese market, Reuters news report said.

The decision comes amidst heightened regulatory scrutiny, with the United States tightening restrictions on the capabilities of AI chips that can be exported to China. Rival company Nvidia has also outlined intentions to introduce three China-specific chips in response to these regulatory changes.

Intel’s China-specific AI chips will be based on its latest Gaudi 3 product line, which was unveiled on April 9. These chips will retain key hardware features such as on-chip memory, high-bandwidth memory, and interface standards. However, their performance will be deliberately curtailed to meet export control regulations.

Notably, Nvidia’s China-specific chip, the H20, is set to be rolled out in limited quantities in the first quarter of 2024, with larger shipments expected from the second quarter, as reported by Reuters in January.

By introducing AI chips tailored specifically for the Chinese market, Intel aims to navigate regulatory challenges while continuing to serve its customer base in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets for semiconductor technology.