Big AI problem? Ask Huawei Cloud

Huawei’s new Atlas 900 cluster for AI processing ran the ResNet-50 test in 59.8 seconds. Ken Hu claims that is 10 seconds faster than the previous record. At Huawei’s big Connect 2019, Hu offered

We’re making it available at a great discount for universities and research institutes around the world. If you’re interested, go ahead and apply now – we’d love to have you try it out.

I’m sure that’s a genuine offer; no company has been more generous with basic research than Huawei and its US$17B R & D budget. The inhouse developed operating system, a major achievement, will go open source in a few months. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Baidu have the capability, but few other non-classified entities.

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Huawei new Kirin 990 contains advanced ARM 77

Apparently, ARM has dodged the American blockade and is now selling its most advanced designs to Huawei. Arm China spokesperson Liang Quan tells
“We are actually actively communicating …  we have recently confirmed that Arm’s follow-up infrastructure can also be licensed to Chinese customers, including Huawei.”
ARM processors are the heart of Huawei’s mobile chips; ARM’s public cutoff of Huawei could have been a major problem. ARM UK’s official comment is  

Arm continues to comply with the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Commerce Department. Under those current guidelines, Arm cannot license any IP subject to U.S. export controls to HiSilicon unless granted an export license by the US Commerce Department. However we are not providing any details on which Arm IP products are subject to U.S. export controls.

which I consider a non-denial. I have to go with what I have.  
I’ve passed the story to a DC reporter who will presumably get the facts. Tech reporters are also about to jump on this with the Kirin 990 announcement.
ARM is a British company owned by Softbank in Japan.  It was a great coup when the US security apparatus persuaded the company to cut off Huawei, one of ARM’s most important customers. 


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Huawei: U.S. hacking us

I shouldn’t have been surprised by the news that the US is attacking Huawei’s systems. As Ed Snowden taught us, the US monitors an extraordinary section of the Internet.

The Huawei statement below describes in colorful terms the pressure and harassment of Huawei employees and partners. It reads true. But I believe one comment about the U.S. to be inaccurate: “it has been using every tool at its disposal.”

I do not believe Huawei has been the object of missiles fired from U.S. drones. Nor have I seen any evidence of the work of CIA assassins, as documented in the Frank Church congressional hearings.

The WSJ, as noted below, seems to be doing sloppy journalism perhaps from targeted government leaks.

Media Statement Regarding Reported US DoJ Probes into Huawei (more…)

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Berkeley, Stanford funded

Goldsmith with honorary PhD

The research group of Andrea Goldsmith at Stanford, one of the world’s leading communications researchers, received about half its funding from Huawei. Matt Drange now reports that the company has donated $7 million to Berkeley. It has also been a supporter of MIT’s Media Lab and spends $300 million per year supporting university research around the world.

Universities in the US have a strong tradition of academic freedom, but all three universities have now forbidden faculty from accepting funding from Huawei. Two senior faculty members have confirmed to me the US government put the universities under pressure. Neither is funded by Huawei. MIT gets half a billion a year in federal funding.

Nearly all the money went to basic research, for which corporate money is rare.

Dredge has a useful set of documents from Berkeley with details of the grants.

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Huawei’s very red world

This map shows countries working with Huawei 5G in red and pink. Huawei is doing very well in 5G, although it’s not as dominant as the colors here suggest.

Ericsson is actually close to Huawei in 5G revenue, aided by the ban in the US and Australia. Years ago, Huawei was the price leader in order to break in to the European market. That’s no longer true, despite all the reporters that continue to make that claim. Ericsson made a corporate decision to match and occasionally beat Huawei’s prices.

Ren made a remarkable comment that Huawei would be hurt if it forced Nokia and Ericsson out of the market. Both are struggling financially. Ren made the point that competition spurs Huawei to do better. I’m sure he’s also aware of the political implications of knocking out Europe’s champions.

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Ren: Huawei can build 1.5M 5G radios in 2020

Radios could be a US$20+ billion product for Huawei in 2020 if orders come in. Very high sales are likely. China, Huawei’s primary market, plans 600,000-800,000 5G upgrades in 2020, some of which will involve multiple radios.

Huawei’s replacement of US parts is effective. Many designs require FPGA programmable chips, one of the few products where the US is still dominant. Ren implies that Huawei no longer requires FPGA’s. The only other important US-dominated product is radio frequency chips, where Huawei also is making progress.

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Huawei: Samsung’s 5G soon illegal in China

Starting January 1 2019, China will require all new phones to support the SA 5G core. The nominal reason is China wants to promote the SA core. Huawei 5G chips are ready for SA but no others are.

On Weibo, Huawei’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong wrote, “I hope everyone can provide true 5G mobile phones. NSA will soon be eliminated, SA is true 5G.” believes that’s an indirect warning about Samsung.

Zhang Daijun of Samsung Mobile replied,

NSA and SA have no perceptual difference to ordinary users, and SA will have different perceptions for some industry users.

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Huawei inventory & component sales

Huawei is stocking on many parts for protection against the US. With over US$30 billion in cash, it can afford to carry a reserve inventory. When I look at the primary suppliers, it’s not clear Huawei is buying all parts. The most advanced chips come from TSMC. Sales are up, but not drastically.

Huawei since the beginning of the year has bought RF front end modules from top US suppliers in large volume. I could see that from the financials of Skyworks and Qorvo. I’d guess it is also gobbling FPGA’s the other major component where the US is dominant.

Digitimes, a generally reliable source, worries

Chinese smartphone vendors, particularly Huawei, scrambled to stock up components in the second-quarter of 2019 amid escalating US-China trade tensions.

Such precautionary orders sharply boosted second-quarter smartphone AP shipments, but are set to undermine shipments in the third quarter, according to Digitimes Research’s latest China Smartphone AP quarterly report

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Sept 19 for Intel-killer Kunpeng (First Look)

Taishan X6000 board

Huawei is selling US$billions in servers and cloud services. Almost all are dependent on Intel processors, a dangerous situation. HiSilicon has been making network processors for years and will unleash a killer chip on Sept 29.

The 64 processors in the Kunpeng 920 will solve that problem. The performance should be comparable to Intel or AMD’s best, according to some early benchmarks.

The board was announced in April and isn’t new. Until now, it has been little known outside the company. It uses ARM cores, which have an attractive performance per watt compared to Intel.

Sept 19, Taishan & Kunpeng will come out to the world at Huawei’s Shanghai event. Hou Jinlong, President, Cloud & AI Products & Services, will keynote with Leading New Computing with Kunpeng. He will be followed by CEOs and other senior executives from China’s top companies.

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10M Huawei phones sold in China July

Huawei continues to gain share in the Chinese mobile phone market, taking about a third of the sales in July. About a million P30 Pro phones sold, at a price close to US$1,000.

In the first three months of 2019, Huawei sold 60 million phones worldwide. Since then, international sales have fallen. German sales were cut in half in May.

Dan Strumpf in the WSJ sees, ” patriotic buying spree helps to blunt the impact of widening U.S. restrictions on the telecommunications giant. Huawei has also increased advertising in the Chinese market.

Xiaomi, Apple, Samsung, and “other” are faltering in China sales. Oppo & Vivo, both owned by BBK, were #2 & #3 in the market. Their combined sales have been roughly matching Huawei this year.

Huawei sold a million Mate 20 Pro 5G phones in the first half of August, augering well for continued high sales.

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Topping Google salaries to hire 500 in Russia

Ren Zhengfei “Will pay even more than Google to attract talent to work on innovation in Russia. Students from the Novosibirsk State University have been the champions or runners-up in the International Collegiate Programming Contest for six consecutive years. Google paid salaries five or six times higher than normal to employ them. We will join the competition for talent.”

Huawei is opening three new research centres in Russia and plans to staff them with 1,000 engineers. 500 will be hired in the next year. Huawei is developing enormous resources in Russia and making large deals for equipment.

Huawei will build a 5G network for MTS, Russia’s largest mobile phone carrier. It has 100 million customers, more than any other European network has in one or two countries. Xi and Putin came together when the deal was announced.

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500 Mbps in Korea drive test

LG in Korea has used Huawei radios to cover 40 kilometres with 5G. Huawei reports that cars driving at 60-80km/h could get speeds of 500 Mbps or higher.

Drive testing is an art with many unknowns, Rootmetrics told me recently as we reviewed its data from Korea. The speeds Huawei claims in moving cars are reasonably consistent with the outdoor speeds in Rootmetrics Korea testing. Korean 5G speeds tested: 160 Mbps to 457 Mbps median

This is the first story I’ve picked up from . I can read it easily with Google translation.

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