In the latest blow to Chinal’s beleaguered mobile gaming industry, the USA is reportedly considering new trade restrictions which would end an exemption created by Donald Trump on the sale of US-made chips, according to a draft amendment to the US Commerce Department’s licensing rules obtained by Reuters.
The Register reports that this may impact the business of Nvidia, as it would be unable to sell its chips to Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Huawei was placed on the US entities list in 2019, due to concerns that the Chinese government could force Huawei to install backdoors into its networking equipment. However, American companies were able to acquire separate licenses allowing for the sale of equipment below 5G.
The plan identifies Nvidia in particular as being put at risk, with the draft reportedly stating “The proposed amendment of (the Commerce Department’s) licensing will likely have a high economic impact on Nvidia.”
The Commerce Department has stated that this is just a draft, and that it is still considering its options.
A recurring problem?
The Biden administration’s trade restrictions have repeatedly affected Nvidia’s ability to conduct business in China, having stepped in last summer to require special licenses to sell chips used for AI, affecting sales of its A100 chip.
Despite this, Nvidia remains bullish on the Chinese industry, selling a downgraded version of A100, named A800, to circumvent the new restrictions.
On Huawei’s side, The Register reports that it’s unclear what it wants with Nvidia’s hardware, having sold off likely recipients of the technology, such as its server division. While the company does maintain interests in AI and ML-centric services, these used hardware which is now four years out of date.
A revival of the Ascend Compute system and new interest in programs such as ChatGPT are identified as two possibilities.
Last month, Nvidia signed a new deal with Microsoft to bring Call of Duty to GeForce Now.