Nvidia CEO Discusses U.S. Chip Supply Chain Independence from China

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, stated in an appearance at the New York Times' DealBook Conference that U.S. chipmakers are at least a decade away from achieving "supply chain independence" from China. Acknowledging the Biden administration's efforts to delink China from the U.S. chip supply, Huang expressed support for the idea but emphasized that total independence is not a practical goal for a decade or two.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

While discussing the Biden administration's push to reduce reliance on China for chip supply, Huang mentioned that Nvidia is committed to doing business globally but recognizes the importance of national security and competitiveness. The CEO highlighted the challenge of achieving complete supply chain independence, given the complexities of the semiconductor industry, and noted the extended timeline for such a transition.

Nvidia, a leading semiconductor company, recently issued a warning in its third-quarter earnings about the anticipated negative impact from U.S. export controls during the fourth quarter. The company has faced tighter export controls, limiting its ability to export high-powered GPUs used in artificial intelligence to China. Huang clarified that critical technology, especially at the leading edge, is not made available to China due to these controls.

Despite export restrictions, Huang acknowledged that China has the capability to obtain critical technology through alternative means or by inspiring domestic chipmakers. He emphasized that Nvidia remains a decade ahead of Chinese companies, citing Huawei as a specific example of a sanctioned Chinese manufacturer.

Additionally, the Biden administration has prioritized limiting China's access to both financial and intellectual resources. In addition to restrictions on advanced chip exports, the U.S. government has imposed limitations on industries in which U.S. venture firms can invest within China.

Huang also shared insights on the rapid progression of artificial intelligence (AI) development. Nvidia has been a key player in advancing the AI industry through its powerful GPUs. According to Huang, achieving AI capabilities that match human intellect is expected within the next five years.

Huang's comments shed light on the challenges and timelines associated with achieving supply chain independence in the semiconductor industry. While expressing support for the Biden administration's goals, he emphasized the complexities involved and the prolonged timeframe required for significant changes in the chip supply chain.