Breaking | It is revealed that ByteDance is developing 5nm chips, and the Ministry of Commerce responded for the first time to new US regulations restricting investment in Chinese AI

According to Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter, in order to reduce the purchase cost of high-end chips and ensure a stable supply of chips, ByteDance is cooperating with U.S. chip designer Broadcom to develop advanced AI processors.

The report pointed out that the chip is a 5nm ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) and will comply with US export control regulations.

An ASIC is an integrated circuit designed specifically for a specific application. Compared with general-purpose chips such as CPUs and GPUs, ASIC chips embed the implementation of specific algorithms or tasks directly into the chip during design, so they have higher performance and energy efficiency.

In addition, the chip designed by ByteDance in cooperation with Broadcom is planned to be produced by TSMC, the world's leading semiconductor foundry.

However, according to sources, TSMC may not start producing the new chips this year. Although the design work is progressing smoothly, it has not yet entered the critical "tape-out" (trial production) stage.

It is worth mentioning that the U.S. Treasury Department issued an overseas investment order on the 22nd of this month to implement Executive Order No. 14105 signed on August 9, 2023.

The order sets restrictions on overseas investments by Americans in specific national security technologies and products, and is intended to prohibit U.S. entities from investing in China's fields such as AI, semiconductors and microelectronics, and quantum computing.

Since last year, ByteDance is still actively seeking ways to improve AI computing power.

According to two people familiar with the matter, in order to enhance AI computing power, ByteDance has stockpiled a large number of NVIDIA A100 and H100 chips, as well as NVIDIA's A800 and H800 chips designed for the Chinese market. Moreover, ByteDance also purchased Huawei’s Ascend 910B chip last year.

Since 2022, ByteDance has established a commercial partnership with Broadcom. According to Broadcom’s public statement, ByteDance has purchased Broadcom’s Tomahawk 5nm high-performance switching chip and Bailly switches.

The latter is the industry's first 51.2 Tbps CPO Ethernet switch, which can greatly promote the construction of ultra-large-scale data centers and AI computing clusters.

Currently, ByteDance has hundreds of semiconductor-related jobs posted on its website, including 15 positions for ASIC chip designers.

In addition, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, ByteDance is also actively recruiting top talents from other Chinese AI chip companies to enhance its research and development capabilities in the field of AI chips.

In fact, Internet giant ByteDance has been making frequent moves in the field of AI recently, and the waves it has caused are particularly eye-catching.

Not long ago, ByteDance Volcano Engine officially launched the long-prepared Doubao large model family, covering nine models including Doubao general model pro, general model lite, and role-playing model.

Moreover, the Volcano Engine directly transformed into a "price butcher", bringing a billion-point shock to the large model market.

For example, the pricing of models with the same specifications on the market is generally 0.12 yuan/thousand Tokens, while the Doubao universal model pro-32k model inference input price is only 0.0008 yuan/thousand Tokens, which is 99.3% lower than the industry price.

And having Zhu Wenjia, who once served as TikTok's product technical director, lead ByteDance's large model is enough to give a glimpse of Byte's emphasis on the AI ​​field and its ambitions.

So far, Byte has launched a number of AI applications, among which Doubao is a large-scale model application that ByteDance focuses on. In the Apple App Store and major Android application markets, the download volume of Doubao APP ranks first among AIGC applications.

Not long ago, there were also rumors that ByteDance has secretly launched an AI mobile phone research and development project. However, ByteDance insiders have refuted the rumors, saying that the company has no plans to develop AI mobile phones, but is exploring large-model software solutions based on mobile phones.

These measures all reflect ByteDance’s determination to promote the development of AI, and AI chips, as the core of computing resources, will undoubtedly play a key role in this.

It is worth noting that in response to foreign media reports that ByteDance is cooperating with US chip designer Broadcom to develop 5nm AI chips, ByteDance just responded to APPSO and stated that the news is untrue.

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