Tencent in turn responded to the Chinese government’s appeal with its first three chips. A new digital era is brewing.
According to TechCrunch, Tencent presented its very first computer chips on Wednesday. A foray into the world of hardware which seems to be the opposite of its usual business base, but which is in line with the line of conduct decided by the Chinese Communist Party.
It is no secret that Xi Jinping’s policy aims to put China in a position that would allow it to assume a indisputable global leadership. This requires in particular total independence on certain strategic fronts such as space,energy, but also and above all the digital. And in the current context, this notably involves the ability to produce its own chips. The government has therefore launched a broad appeal to its champions, to encourage them to produce their own chips.
The main Chinese digital titans therefore hastened to respond to Beijing’s call. After Alibaba, Huawei, Baidu and now Tencent have all announced that they will embark on the development of their own hardware made-in-china. According to the press release in Mandarin translated by TechCrunch, the latter would therefore have proposed three new chips: one designed “for artificial intelligence“, a “for video transcoding“, a last “for a network interface“.
In any case, it is a fairly significant paradigm shift for Tencent. By adding the string of hardware to its already well-stocked bow, the giant could even switch to another dimension. As it stands, it already occupies a central place in the Chinese digital ecosystem. He is the one who manages WeChat, a messaging application frequented by more than a billion users each month.
Tencent, an essential juggernaut
But the services offered by this sprawling entity do not stop there, far from it. In Europe, it is difficult to imagine to what extent the firm is omnipresent. To a certain extent, Tencent in China is simultaneously the equivalent of Orange, Netflix, Google News, WhatsApp, Steam and more. Suffice to say that the group has no shortage of business sectors that could directly benefit from these new chips.
In particular, they could be used to apply restrictions linked to the censorship policy. The government has indeed put a real screed on the digital life of the Chinese. This requires in particular close monitoring of social networks; For example, it is common knowledge that criticizing the CCP or its leader online can have very concrete consequences in real life. And as a central player in this digital ecosystem, Tencent is a central player in this censorship.
Some observers therefore already expect that these chips, in particular the one dedicated to AI, can participate in this large-scale control policy. Also according to the translation of TechCrunch, the group says for its part that it will serve among others “image and video processing, language synthesis, and research”. The chip dedicated to transcoding will undoubtedly play a key role in the group’s streaming services. Finally, the network card will distribute the load between the processors of its many servers to improve efficiency.
It will be very interesting to follow the progress of Chinese industry on this type of material, as it will be of crucial importance on China’s technological sovereignty. And knowing the vision that Xi Jinping, it is a data that could weigh very heavily in the global geopolitical balance, and in just a few years.