Why Huawei’s Move into AI is Well Justified

The Ascend 910 artificial intelligence (AI) chip is coming.

Michael K. Spencer
Aug 25 · 3 min read

Amid incredible pressure, Huawei is seemingly extraordinarily innovative in the face of adversity. Huawei is weirdly adjusting very well to its new normal — launching products while in limbo over its status on the U.S. “foreign entities” list!

It demonstrates just how sophisticated Chinese business strategy in technology is becoming that will play a long-game that Silicon Valley is ill-prepared to compete against.

Huawei isn’t like an Uber that needs to depend upon money from places like Saudi Arabia. Huawei is a mature company that didn’t even go public. Government ties or not, Huawei is a beast.

Huawei is getting into AI Chips

Huawei’s assault on the open-source AI chip space is notable. The product is called the Ascend 910 artificial intelligence (AI) chip, touting its low power consumption of 310W, as well as its AI computing framework MindSpore, which will go open source in the first quarter of 2020.

Many view Huawei’s ceiling in 5G, Data centers and the Cloud space as potentially fueling a leading global foray into artificial intelligence. Huawei unveiled the new AI chip, likely aimed at growing its share of the booming cloud services market. Can such a controversial company (for the U.S.) make headway into the Cloud and compete with Alibaba in the mainland?

Huawei’s own 2025 tech predictions are worth mentioning. It certainly has a unique vision of the future of technology.

Huawei’s Bet on Artificial Intelligence is Smart

I’m not sure the United States can appreciate how big a bet Huawei is placing on the future of its AI unit. I think it’s on the scale of an Amazon. How do you blacklist the largest telecom vendor in the world, anyways? It doesn’t even make sense.

Huawei has a full-stack all-scenario AI portfolio offering. It has been positioning itself to be an AI powerhouse for the past 2–3 years, knowing full well what a 5G world would be capable of and planning for conversational AI embedded in the Internet of Things (IoT) systems. Before there was blockchain hype there was IoT hype. Now AI hype appears to be a dominant theme of the 21st century in technology and business.

You could argue that few companies are better positioned than Huawei to create the future OS and AI systems. What would this mean for Chinese influence on the world? The leading telecom provider and smartphone company!

Huawei’s maturation as a company is also “perfectly timed” with the advent of automation and the 4th industrial revolution in society. If it’s a Government-backed company, it would make total sense.

Huawei is betting big on AI development which it believes will deliver enormous economic benefits to the company and to society in general, with AI-driven automation expected to gradually replace manpower in a large number of jobs and industries. This could sync well with the Chinese Government’s preference for a surveillance data architecture that is the most efficient for AI development and machine learning training.

Huawei’s PR around the matter positioned its new product thus. It says the Ascend 910 has a maximum power consumption of just 310W, compared with a target of 350W. Huawei stated that the combination of Ascend 910 and MindSpore allows for training AI models approximately twice as fast as rival products, using open source machine learning library TensorFlow.

Huawei’s at the Heart of the Bifurcation of the Internet of the 2020s

Huawei expects to lose around $10 billion due to the black listing and bans from the U.S. in its smartphone division. But can the United States realistically hold Huawei back as a telecom vendor giant and in its plans for 5G, IoT and AI dominance? That’s not very realistic.

Huawei is nearly like Apple or Microsoft: it’s grossly profitable and deeply embedded in the future of technology. Chinese tariffs on electronic goods, for example, could hurt Apple in a significant way now, with the latest pushback from China. Huawei might be at the center of the trade war, but as an on-ramp to a cold tech war, this is just the beginning.

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Michael K. Spencer

Written by

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, a prolific writer. Always writing. 🌞 DM me on Twitter for quotes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkspencer/

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