Credits: Nvidia

Companies and even academic researchers in China are gaining access to Nvidia’s AI components despite US sanctions on the country, according to the Wall Street Journal, which uncovered a trafficking ring for the technology in the country.

Apparently, AI-capable products are being smuggled into China without much effort to hide the activity. Chips like the A100 and H100 are especially popular, since much of China’s AI networking is based on Nvidia’s CUDA technology.

The WSJ reports at least 70 distributors openly advertising the products online, many of them verified by the networks they operate in. They offer pre-sale terms and promised deliveries within a few weeks. The site even found complete servers, with eight Nvidia processors, going for $300,000.

Nvidia Server
Source: Nvidia

Much of the smuggling appears to be coming from Singapore. One case has been detailed of a 26-year-old Chinese student who took six Nvidia cards back to his homeland from the country. He declared the value of each component at just $100 and managed to get through customs without any problems.

The WSJ managed to contact the student, who said he was willing to continue smuggling – both for the financial gain and for a sense of contribution to the country. So it is reasonable to assume that other smugglers share the same sentiment.

China doesn’t want to be left behind in the AI ​​race

The jingoistic sentiment is not uncommon when it comes to GPU smuggling to China, as the US tries to stifle the country’s competitiveness in the AI ​​segment with its sanctions. In addition to the rules that directly affect US companies, the land of Uncle Sam is pressuring even partner nations to do the same.

The WSJ reports that the trafficking ring is careful not to ship large quantities of goods to avoid attracting the attention of authorities. However, the report also states that smuggling has become so common that inflated prices in this type of market are decreasing, due to the greater supply of products and less fear in buying.

Until the country gets closer to its desired self-sufficiency in AI, Nvidia card smuggling is expected to continue to grow in China.

Source: WSJ
Via: Tom’s Hardware

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