July 19, 2024

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Exclusive-China’s ByteDance working with Broadcom to develop advanced AI chip, sources say

2 min read

By Eduardo Baptista

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance is working with U.S. chip designer Broadcom on developing an advanced AI processor, two sources familiar with the matter said, a move that would help TikTok’s owner secure sufficient supply of high-end chips amid U.S.-Sino tensions.

The 5 nanometre chip – a customised product known as an application-specific integrated chip (ASIC) – would be compliant with U.S. export restrictions and manufacturing work would be outsourced to Taiwan’s TSMC, the sources added.

There have been no publicly announced chip development collaborations between Chinese and U.S. companies involving 5nm or more advanced technology since Washington introduced export controls for cutting-edge semiconductors in 2022. U.S.-China deals in the sector generally concern much less sophisticated tech.

ByteDance’s tie-up with Broadcom, an existing business partner, would help slash procurement costs and ensure a stable supply of higher-end chips, said the sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of semiconductor issues in China.

TSMC is, however, not expected to start manufacturing the new chip this year, they said. One of them said while design work is well underway, the “tapeout” – which marks the end of the design phase and the beginning of manufacturing – has not started.

ByteDance and Broadcom did not respond to repeated requests for comment. TSMC declined to comment.

Like many global tech firms, ByteDance has launched a major push in generative artificial intelligence but the company and its Chinese peers have to contend with far more limited supply of AI chips than their overseas counterparts.

Nvidia’s most advanced chipsets are out of reach due to U.S. export controls aimed at impeding breakthroughs in AI and supercomputing by China’s military. Competition for U.S. chips developed specifically for the Chinese market as well as those from rival Huawei, one of the few Chinese makers of AI accelerators, is fierce.


2024-06-23 23:11:53

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