Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on Monday launched a new chipset for use in servers, at a time when China is pushing to enhance its chip-making capabilities and reduce its heavy reliance on imports, especially from the United States. Huawei, which derives the bulk of its revenue from selling telecommunications equipment and smartphones, is seeking growth avenues in cloud computing and enterprise services as its equipment business comes under increased scrutiny in the West wary of Chinese government influence over the firm. Huawei has repeatedly denied any such influence.
Chinese firms are also seeking to minimise the impact of a trade dispute which has seen China and the United States slap tariffs on each other's technology imports. For Huawei, the launch of the chipset - called the Kunpeng 920 and designed by subsidiary HiSilicon - boosts its credentials as a semiconductor designer. The Shenzhen-based company already makes the Kirin series of smartphone chips used in its high-end phones, and the Ascend series of chipsets for artificial intelligence computing launched in October.
It said its latest 7 nanometre, 64-core central processing unit (CPU) would provide much higher computing performance for data centres and slash power consumption. It is based on the architecture of British chip design firm ARM - owned by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp - which is seeking to challenge the dominance in server CPUs of U.S. maker Intel Corp.
Huawei aims to "drive the development of the ARM ecosystem", said Chief Marketing Officer William Xu. He said the chip has "unique advantages in performance and power consumption". Xu also said Huawei will continue its "long-term strategic partnership" with Intel. Huawei on Monday also released its TaiShan series of servers powered by the new chipset, built for big data, distributed storage and ARM native applications.
The firm founded chip designer HiSilicon in 2004 to help reduce its reliance on imports. In modem chips, Huawei internally sources 54 percent of those in its own devices, with 22 percent coming from Qualcomm Inc and the remainder from elsewhere, showed evidence presented at an antitrust trial for Qualcomm.