Huawei unveils full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio

Gerald Bowen
October 12, 2018

"Since we do not sell to third parties, there is no direct competition between Huawei and chip vendors", Xu said on Wednesday, in response to questions about competition from Qualcomm, AMD and Nvidia.

This comes at a time when Huawei, which set up its cloud business unit a year ago, is trying to gain a firmer foothold in the public cloud market at home that is now dominated by Alibaba.

In September 2017, Huawei released Huawei Cloud EI, an AI service platform for enterprises and governments. The Ascend 910 is reportedly designed for data centers, which Huawei claims can process more data at a faster rate than its competitors and train networks within minutes. "In the consumer market, HiAI will bring true intelligence to our consumer devices, making them smarter than ever", Xu noted.

The push into artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud marks Huawei's attempt to build a Chinese technology empire that could compete against the world's top players - an effort that has raised hackles in the US.

"I think this is a very natural phenomenon in the business", he added. The company is working to offer a full-stack technological portfolio to support all AI application scenarios.

Given machine learning is now a big deal in the cloud and data centre world, offering servers with chips created to support such workloads could be a smart move by Huawei.

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Huawei has launched two new microchips to power a portfolio of products that are part of the company's new AI strategy.

The full-stack portfolio also includes tools to accelerate and simplify AI development, including an automated development toolkit and a unified framework for model training.

Yesterday, Xu said: "I hope we can all work together to turn AI into a practical reality, making it inclusive and available for all". In April 2018, Huawei announced HiAI, its AI engine for smart devices.

In front of 25,000 people at the company's annual customer event in Shanghai, rotating chairman Eric Xu said the first "full scenario" AI chips would be available commercially by the second quarter of next year inside Huawei's own products.

Huawei has also encountered its own problems recently, as it meets with resistance in the West from some countries concerned that its core networking equipment and smartphones could pose a national security risk. "When this platform is in place, AI will become a basic skill of all application developers, even all IT workers". From a tech perspective, more and more issues are emerging as AI technology continues to advance.

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