Impact of Sanctions on NVIDIA’s Sales in China: A Boost for Huawei

Impact of Sanctions on NVIDIA’s Sales in China: A Boost for Huawei

In recent years, the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has witnessed exponential growth, presenting lucrative opportunities for technology companies like NVIDIA. With its cutting-edge graphics processing units (GPUs) and AI-specific solutions, NVIDIA has been at the forefront of this revolution.

However, the company now faces significant challenges in the Chinese market due to strict trade restrictions imposed by the United States. These sanctions have opened the door for Huawei, one of China’s leading technology companies, to gain ground in the AI sector.

Dominance of NVIDIA in the Chinese GPU Market

For years, NVIDIA has enjoyed a dominant position in the Chinese market, controlling over 90% of the GPU market for AI applications. The company’s powerful GPUs were highly sought after by Chinese businesses and researchers working in the field of AI.

NVIDIA’s products were widely recognized for their exceptional performance and ability to accelerate AI computations. However, this scenario has started to change with the introduction of stringent export controls by the Biden administration.

Export Controls and the Decline of NVIDIA’s GPU Sales

The export controls imposed by the United States have severely limited NVIDIA’s ability to sell its most advanced GPUs in the Chinese market. Prior to the increase in sanctions, NVIDIA had projected sales of $5 billion between 2023 and 2024 in China for its A800 and H800 GPUs.

Unfortunately, these products, along with the A100, H100, and GeForce RTX 4090, have been banned from export. As a result, NVIDIA has faced significant hurdles in meeting the demand for its products in China.

Huawei’s Rise in the AI Sector

While NVIDIA grapples with the challenges posed by sanctions, Huawei has emerged as a clear winner in the Chinese AI market. The ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington has created new opportunities for domestic companies like Huawei to thrive in the face of limited access to foreign technology.

According to Reuters, Huawei is gaining ground in China’s AI sector, capitalizing on NVIDIA’s difficulties in the market.

Competition Between NVIDIA and Huawei in China

The market pressure has compelled NVIDIA to adjust the pricing of its most powerful graphics card specifically designed for the Chinese market. The company introduced three slightly modified custom GPUs that are not subject to the sanctions.

One of these GPUs is the NVIDIA H20, scheduled to be launched in China between the first and second quarters of 2024. Industry sources consulted by Reuters anticipate intense competition between the H20 and Huawei’s Ascender 910B.

Performance Comparison: NVIDIA H20 vs. Huawei Ascender 910B

NVIDIA H20, although slightly behind the Huawei Ascender 910B in terms of performance in key tests such as FP32, has been strategically priced between $12,000 and $15,000. This pricing places it below Huawei’s proposed price of $16,000 for the Ascender 910B.

It remains to be seen how this pricing strategy will impact NVIDIA’s position in the Chinese market and whether it can effectively compete with Huawei.

Future of NVIDIA in China

As the trade war between China and the United States continues to evolve, the future of NVIDIA in the Chinese market remains uncertain. The company’s ability to adapt to the changing landscape and navigate the complex geopolitical challenges will be crucial in determining its success. While the sanctions have undoubtedly posed obstacles for NVIDIA, the company still possesses technological expertise and a loyal customer base that may help it weather the storm.

Potential Strategies for NVIDIA

To mitigate the impact of sanctions and maintain its presence in the Chinese market, NVIDIA could explore various strategies. These may include:

Partnerships with Chinese Companies: NVIDIA could seek strategic partnerships with Chinese companies to access their distribution networks and leverage their local market knowledge.

Development of Customized Solutions: By developing customized solutions tailored to the Chinese market, NVIDIA can address specific customer needs and differentiate itself from competitors.

Investment in Research and Development: Continued investment in research and development is essential for NVIDIA to stay at the forefront of AI technology and maintain a competitive edge.

Expansion into Other Markets: Diversifying its market presence beyond China could help NVIDIA reduce its dependence on the Chinese market and mitigate the impact of sanctions.

Huawei Factor

While NVIDIA explores various strategies to navigate the challenges in China, it cannot ignore the growing influence of Huawei. The Chinese tech giant has been actively investing in AI research and development, positioning itself as a formidable competitor to NVIDIA. With its extensive resources and government support, Huawei has the potential to dominate the Chinese AI market in the absence of NVIDIA’s flagship products.


The sanctions imposed on NVIDIA have undoubtedly complicated its sales in China, creating an opportunity for Huawei to gain ground in the AI sector. As NVIDIA adjusts its pricing and strategies to compete with Huawei, the future of the company in China remains uncertain.

However, with its technological expertise and loyal customer base, NVIDIA still has the potential to navigate these challenges and maintain its position as a leader in the global AI industry. As the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, only time will tell how the competition between NVIDIA and Huawei unfolds in the Chinese market.