US-sanctioned Chinese chip start-up Moore Threads unveils GPU-based computing centre, AI graphics card

by Che Pan at

A Chinese graphics processing unit (GPU) start-up that has been put on a US trade blacklist has introduced a new graphics card along with what it called the country’s first GPU-based computing hub for artificial intelligence (AI) training.

Moore Threads Intelligent Technology, a Beijing-based designer of GPUs tailored for AI training, said the new GPU will be found on its KUAE Intelligent Computing Centre, which is aimed at serving China’s growing needs for large language model training.

“Moore Threads has built a smart computing product line from chips to graphics cards to clusters, relying on the multifunctional computing advantages of GPUs,” CEO Jams Zhang Jianzhong said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a fresh round of expanded US export controls, Moore Threads and Biren Technology, two of China’s top AI chip start-ups, were added to Washington’s so-called Entity List in October over concerns that they were hurting US national security and policy interests.

The US sanctions have made it challenging for the two companies to find wafer foundries that are willing to manufacture their chips, putting the firms in a similar predicament that Huawei Technologies has faced since late 2020.

The export restrictions also affect Moore Threads and Biren’s access to US electronic design automation software.

Weeks after it landed on the US trade blacklist, Moore Threads announced a round of lay-offs. At the time, Zhang, who worked with leading GPU company Nvidia for 15 years before starting his own venture, said the job cuts were a tough but necessary decision to consolidate company resources to focus on GPU development.

Moore Threads had been a darling of investors amid China’s chip self-sufficiency drive.