News WeChat

Tencent Secures Ample AI Chips to Propel Innovation Despite US Bans on GPUs

Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent has successfully acquired a significant number of Nvidia GPUs, ensuring the advancement of its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for at least the next two generations. Despite US chip bans restricting the sale of certain GPUs, Tencent remains undeterred in its pursuit of improving AI performance. Martin Lau, the company’s president, emphasized during Tencent’s Q3 earnings call that they currently possess one of the largest inventories of AI chips in China.

Lau revealed that Tencent was quick to place a substantial order for the H800, a specialized Nvidia card designed to circumvent US tech export restrictions. However, subsequent bans prevented future sales of the H800. Nevertheless, Lau confidently stated that Tencent has ample chips to fuel the development of their proprietary large foundation model called “Hunyuan” for the foreseeable future.

Tencent’s Hunyuan AI model is already proving its worth, enhancing productivity for coders through the summarization of meetings held on Tencent’s Meeting platform. Moreover, the AI is optimizing art creation efficiency in its game studios and generating targeted advertising copy with improved click-through rates. Lau envisions a future where Hunyuan will take on a broader role, writing ads, and handling customer inquiries.

Despite potential challenges posed the chip bans, Lau remains optimistic about Tencent’s AI development. He expressed the need for exploring efficient usage of existing AI chips and considering the offloading of inference to lower performance chips while preserving high-performance chips for training. Tencent also plans to explore partnerships with domestic suppliers for additional silicon, defying the notion that such suppliers don’t exist due to US sanctions.

Tencent’s belief in the rise of China’s semiconductor industry indicates their confidence in achieving technological parity with the US. While the US aims to protect national security limiting the use of advanced technologies, Tencent’s strategic moves suggest that China is determined to develop its own sophisticated tech.

Tencent recently reported a Q3 revenue of $21.5 billion, showcasing a ten percent year-on-year improvement. Although operating profit dipped six percent, it still amounted to $6.8 billion. Notably, Tencent’s business services division experienced significant growth after divesting from loss-making clients in its cloud infrastructure-as-a-service sector. The company’s social platforms, WeChat and QQ, continued their steady rise in monthly active users.

In conclusion, Tencent’s foresight in securing AI chips and its resilience in the face of US chip bans highlight its commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological innovation. With an extensive inventory of AI chips, Tencent is poised to continue evolving its AI capabilities and drive further advancements in various sectors, including gaming, advertising, and customer service.


1. What is Tencent’s Hunyuan AI model?

Tencent’s Hunyuan is a proprietary large foundation model that serves as their AI framework for various applications, including summarizing meetings, improving art creation efficiency, generating targeted advertising copy, and handling customer inquiries.

2. How has Tencent addressed US chip bans?

Tencent procured a substantial number of Nvidia GPUs, including the H800, before subsequent bans were enforced. The company believes it has enough AI chips to continue development for at least the next two generations.

3. How does Tencent plan to overcome potential challenges posed the chip bans?

Tencent aims to explore more efficient usage of existing AI chips. They also intend to consider offloading inference to lower performance chips while preserving high-performance chips for training. Additionally, Tencent plans to investigate partnerships with domestic suppliers for additional silicon.

4. What is Tencent’s financial performance in Q3?

In Q3, Tencent reported revenue of $21.5 billion, marking a ten percent year-on-year improvement. The company’s operating profit stood at $6.8 billion, with notable growth seen in their business services division. Tencent’s social platforms, WeChat and QQ, also experienced steady growth in monthly active users.