Alibaba Unveils Chip as China Pushes for Independence
(Bloomberg) — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has successfully developed its own chip, delving deeper into semiconductors just as Washington targets China’s tech industry.
The e-commerce giant joins a series of giant Chinese corporations such as Huawei Technologies Co. that are creating alternatives to foreign software and hardware. Alibaba on Thursday unveiled the Xuantie 910 processor based on an open-source design known as RISC-V that competes with the global standard developed by SoftBank Group Corp.’s ARM. The new chip may mark a licensing business for Alibaba, which will make some of its software tools publicly available but charge for full features.
Xuantie is the first fully formed product to emerge from a chip-making subsidiary Alibaba set up last year to power its foray into cutting-edge circuity. Led by the unit T-head or Pingtouge, it’s part of the company’s expansion into artificial intelligence and development of pivotal technology for the Internet of Things. If its chip business succeeds, it could introduce a new revenue stream and drive its burgeoning cloud services division.
“Trade war has also bolstered China’s determination to become more independent when it comes to technology,” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mark Li said. “Alibaba’s backing of RISC-V may threaten the businesses of existing chip intellectual property companies.”
Alibaba however may be late to the game. Microsoft Corp. and Google had already launched in-house silicon teams, deploying the hardware for their server farms and as add-ons to their own cloud services. The specialized demands of cloud and AI capabilities made in-house manufacturing more practical, despite the expense.
Alibaba joins a coterie of Chinese corporations that are collectively aiming to reduce the country’s overwhelming dependence on foreign chips — an imbalance brought into focus by curbs on the sale of U.S. technology to Huawei. China today imports roughly three times as many chips as it produces domestically, and spends more on semiconductors than it does on oil. Washington is keeping close tabs on China’s advances in chip design, which have the potential to accelerate a shift in how the world’s computing hardware gets produced.
Sanford C. Bernstein分析师Mark Li表示：“贸易战增强了中国在科技领域变得更加独立的决心。”
Chinese companies have never rivaled the U.S., Taiwan, and South Korea in manufacturing the most advanced chips, but it has the capabilities to design cutting-edge chips as demonstrated by Huawei unit HiSilicon. It could in theory stake out a position in so-called AI semiconductors: silicon designed to handle tasks such as object detection and voice recognition.
Xuantie “is designed to serve a lot more heavy-duty IoT applications” from self-driving cars to networking and server computing, Alibaba said in a statement. “The new processor would also help drive the growth of the RISC-V open-source community in Asia and globally.”
你好嗎？2 days ago
I remembered, long ago even before China manifested itself to be a formidable rival, over half of the chip designers in Silicon Valley and the US were East Asian-decent Americans. Now, the way we’re forcing the trade issues we might just be waking up and forcing growing up a Giant……
If they want to make something happen they can pull a huge amount of resources and focus to get it done very quickly. Technology and IP are over-rated. People often forget generating IP associates with formidable cost, and that is why it is an entry barrier game set up by large corporations. In that sense China itself is a gigantic corporation, and if it decides to do it, it would be hard to beat.
D P2 days ago
Necessity is the mother of invention. Thank you Trump for job loses in US semiconductor. China wont make chips just for itself, it will eat up US market share like consumer goods. So much for MAGA.
Walnutcalvery2 days ago
Bar China from whatever is equal to pushing them to develop their own. Case after case of such to prove this point.
ARS2 days ago
Ah…competition….we all will only benefit from it.
I looks that Trumps plan is going the way of his Casinos.
His tariffs and sanctions on China are pushing China into independence. Once they achieve that, the billions of dollars in trade that the US companies were having will evaporate. I guess his follow-up plan will be to subsidize the US manufacturers with the tariffs paid by the US consumer. Way to go! MAGA
Incognito2 days ago
I guess Trump’s policies are making China great again
Whoa2 days ago
By next year at least 10 US semicon companies will be out of business. Mark my words. Trump and team do not understand the concept of supply chain economies. They are dinosaurs from another era.
Timur2 days ago
Two big blunders for Trump. Trade War forced China’s technology independence- and comes at the right time for them, while the US soybean farmers had to compete with soybeans from soybean producers from Brazil, Russia and China itself. With Trade War advertisement Huawei is rapidly expanding.
T2 days ago
I am an American, been in China for around 15 years now: let me just say that China will, within the next 10 – 20 years, be designing and producing the least expensive and highest quality cars, electronics, computers, and other manufactured goods. Over here in China they not only have the “can do” attitude, they also have the “will do and will do better and cheaper” attitude, backed up with hardwork. And with that, China will eventually surpase the USA in terms of quality of life for the average household, with higher levels of education, and less debt.
des2 days ago
Just don’t underestimate the China Chinese. They have the same talent DNA as the American Chinese. Lots of American high tech companies are founded and owned by Chinese who migrated to US. We’ve been told in the media that it’ll take years for China to catch up with chip tech but will still have to use US core tech. Hardly a few months passed and things look very different now. Not only do they complete the development of new and better chips, they also don’t use US patented core tech.
Wow, 21st Century Tech = China’s Century, even Alibaba came up with chip tech with lightning speed, needless to say Huawei (particularly on the 5G AI processors) and many others!!
China has the ability to devote the resources necessary to take 5 years at the most to overtake Silicon Valley in semiconductor chip design.
Denis2 days ago
Regardless where the chips were made, they were designed mostly by Chinese in the US or in China. What the US government has done is a big favor to the Chinese government in the sense that more and more Chinese feel more confidence about their home made products that they did not realize before. More and more Chinese feel more proud of China and less desire to come to the US. More and more Chinese have realized how evil the US is in controlling China from modernization.
Bruce2 days ago
How come I’m feeling that trumpbo is actually working for Russia and China and not MAGA?
Howard2 days ago
How ironic?! The Trump regime started the Trade War — trade jobs: The US gets coal and steel jobs back, but trades them with high tech profitable jobs. By the way, when the US makes lots of coal and steel, who use them? The US already has lots of oil, and very few would use the steel because it does not have many manufacture firms. After the trade war, China becomes First world and the US becomes a banana republic. How ironic? To make America great again, we should pivot to the internal problems.
theartist2 days ago
Yep, keep up the delusion that china can’t innovate. It makes you feel better now at least.
Pavlin2 days ago
The MAGA guys will be very sorry when China becomes even more independent and having such a powerful grip all over the world. America might become a bit less relevant.
kevin2 days ago
Trump makes China great again and again.
Keystone2 days ago
This will be the moment in history that marks the end of white supremacy. In the West’s arrogance they thought no one can do anything without them hence why they thought if they deny China technology, it will wither away and die not even giving a thought that they Chinese can just develop it on their own. Then Trump in his arrogance forgot that banning China from buying from the US means these companies don’t make any money. Now all these prime US corporations that sold a lot to China are feeling the hurt and the US stock market days of continuous gains is over.
george2 days ago
In 1962, Russia withdrew all of its “advisors” from the atomic research work in China to “stop Chinese from getting nuclear bombs” due to border disputes. Two years later, in 1964 China exploded its first “home grown” nuclear bomb. Fast forward to 2019, US set up embargo on chip supply to selected Chinese tech companies. This time, I think it’s going to take a little longer. But I predict that in 5 years, no more Intel chips, or Micron chips, or AMD chips, will be needed in China. That’s the long lasting legacy of a American president elected by under educated, ignorant Americans.
Miket2 days ago
Bunch morons in Washington, let’s sell everything to the chinese and put money in our pocket now before it is too late! The chinese will dump US chips and sell half price in the open market. Someday U.S chip makers will out of this market. Millions of jobs will be lost!
D23 hours ago
Get those chip copyright lawsuits ready against the prc. Have fun in court!
Red2 days ago
software is soft, hardware is hard.. China semi is like 50 yrs behind US, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea
Mike2 days ago
Bring them on, let us see what a Chinese semiconductor design and associated software can do, also the ability and capacity to manufacture it at ultra tight geometries…the USA Technology Team (Chips, Software, Advanced Manufacturing Industries) will take them on, give us something to focus upon…if it is so good, we can copy them haha!
Trump manipulates the market for his personal benefit. He will be a billionaire after his term in office.