Huawei unveils new AI chips for servers - Hardware

Huawei plans to ditch Intel in favour of its own server chips

Commenting at the event, Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating Chairman, said, "Huawei's AI strategy is to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem".

The Shenzhen-based company already offers cloud services but it aims to delve deeper into its enterprise business by selling the hardware along with software and services.

Huawei will also release the Ascend 310 next year, aimed at edge computing devices such as Internet of Things devices and mobile phones. In the consumer market, HiAI will bring true intelligence to our consumer devices, making them smarter than ever. On Wednesday, Huawei unveiled a series of products tied to its cloud computing services, as it competes with players like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and foreign ones like Amazon.com Inc.

"I think this is a very natural phenomenon in the business", he added. In April this year, the company launched HiAI, its AI engine for smart devices. The company's full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio is created to provide support for both Huawei Cloud EI and HiAI, as well as other services. According to Reuters, the servers it now sells to telecom companies and cloud computing clients mostly use Intel chips.

"Full stack means that Huawei is able to provide AI application developers with unparalleled computing power and a strong application development platform". Its portfolio will also include an AI acceleration card, AI server, AI appliances and many other products.

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"Huawei is ready to work with all stakeholders to turn AI into a practical reality, making it inclusive and available for every person, every home, and every organisation", the company said.

The company's AI chips underpin that strategic thrust, and align with Beijing's express intention to build a domestic semiconductor industry that can gradually wean China off foreign imports.

In 2017, it unveiled its first AI chip called the Kirin 970 and followed that up with the Kirin 980 earlier this year.

AI needs to be increasingly automated, rather than labour intensive - especially in areas such as model design, and data labelling and collection. At the most fundamental level, it will require a massive growth of computer processing power, which he said urgently needs to become more abundant and affordable. But Xu pointed out there is a growing gap between its development and sluggish enterprise adoption - only around 4% of enterprises have invested in or deployed the technology.

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