The Tech Company Brief by Hackernoon: Nvidia’s 90% Monopoly in China Challenged by Uncle Sam

December 21, 2023


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In the global tech ecosystem and beyond, 2023 has undoubtedly been “The Year of AI”.

Reports, speculations, and even conspiracy theories regarding generative AI’s capabilities, potential, shortcomings, and risks have traversed the globe—from major media networks to your mother’s WhatsApp group.

This shiny, new (well, sort of)  technology has seen adoption grow so much that businesses of every scale have moved mountains to build AI tools or, at the very least, integrate them into their workflows and service offerings.

OpenAI, the poster child of the AI revolution, has enjoyed meteoric growth on the back of its golden goose, ChatGPT. However, the company’s success in the realm of AI has not been a solitary journey. Other companies, spurred by OpenAI’s “proof of concept,” have since sought after geese of their own.

With a valuation bump of $200 billion in May, since it shifted the main focus of its graphic cards from PC gaming to AI, it’s clear that Nvidia has had one of the picks of the golden gaggle.

Already the most valuable chip maker in the world before the AI boom, Nvidia’s value and monopoly have unsurprisingly continued to grow steadily throughout the year.

Adding context, the company reported third-quarter earnings of $18.12 billion, marking a remarkable 206% increase from a year ago and a substantial 34% growth from the previous quarter. Further, it commands an 80% monopoly in the global AI chip market, soaring even higher to 90% in China’s $7 billion market—a dominance that Biden’s technology controls could potentially disrupt.

In October, the U.S. government set plans in motion to halt shipments to China of more advanced AI chips designed by companies like Nvidia to prevent Beijing from receiving cutting-edge U.S. technologies that could strengthen its military.

Even though most consumer chips, as can be found in laptops, smartphones, and gaming PCs, were effectively exempt from these rules, the Calif-based chip maker suffered a 3.7% fall in share price after the announcement was made.

About two months after the October 16 announcement, Nvidia is starting to feel the impact of Biden’s export restrictions as Chinese chip designers like Tencent holdings, State-backed Hygon, and startup Iluvatar CoreX make a play for the market leader’s freshly vacant throne.

However, as Reuter reports, Huawei seems closest to the crown, with its Ascend 910holding its own against Nvidia’s A100 in terms of computing power.

In a Biden-sponsored free-for-all, Tencent – China’s largest social media and gaming firm – and other Chinese-based companies are marketing their chips as holistic alternatives to Nvidia and not just for its advanced offerings.

Ironically, U.S. actions aimed at slowing down China’s AI capabilities have unintentionally boosted China’s self-development capability. However, Chip designers in the region might struggle to meet the demands of Chinese tech giants due to production capacity constraints—resulting from U.S. curbs on foundries working with Chinese firms.

When the new regulations were first introduced in October, Nvidia said it complies completely and does not expect significant near-term impact on results.

I wonder if they still maintain that position.

Nvidia finished at #31 on this week’s HackerNoon Tech Company Rankings

Nvidia TCNB Rank

Nvidia TCNB Rank

👋 You’re reading part 1 of HackerNoon’s Tech Company News Brief, a weekly collection of tech goodness that combines HackerNoon’s proprietary data with internet trends to determine which companies are rising and falling in the public consciousness. Part 2 goes live tomorrow. Hate waiting? No problemo! Just subscribe here to receive the complete newsletter a day early in your inbox.

In Other News…

  • You Should be Skeptical about QR Codes, FTC Warns – The Verge
  • Epic Games Wins Antitrust Lawsuit against Google – Tech Crunch
  • SpaceX postpones planned launch of US military’s secretive X-37B spaceplane – Reuters
  • New Mexico lawsuit accuses Meta of creating ‘breeding ground’ for child predators –  CNN
  • Teslas will be able to automatically call 911 if you get in a Crash –  The Verge

This brings us to the end of this week’s Tech Company News Brief.

Don’t forget to share this newsletter with your family, friends, and everyone in between!

See you next week!
Asher Umerie, Editor, World News & Scifi @ HackerNoon.

This article was originally published by Asher Umerie on Hackernoon.


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