U.S. warns NVIDIA against redesigning chips for China amid export regulation challenges

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NVIDIA has received a warning from U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo regarding its efforts to redesign chips for the Chinese market in response to recent U.S. export restrictions on advanced chips. The company has been actively developing new hardware, such as the HGX H20 and the speculated GeForce RTX 4090D graphics card, to navigate these limitations.

In an interview with Fortune, Raimondo cautioned NVIDIA that any new product representing a redesign of a previously prohibited processor would immediately be subject to additional restrictions. This warning comes as NVIDIA’s RTX series devices, equipped with Tensor cores for AI acceleration, face scrutiny under these regulations.

The timeline of NVIDIA’s challenges with U.S. sanctions began in August 2022, with restrictions on its H100/A100 HPC accelerators. NVIDIA responded by introducing the H800/A800 chips for China, which were later also banned. The company has since been redirecting shipments to western countries and developing new chips like the HGX H20, L20, L2, and the RTX 4090D to comply with evolving restrictions.

Raimondo’s statement, “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,” underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to regulating the export of advanced technology, particularly in the realm of artificial intelligence.

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