Tech

Nvidia downplays possible U.S. chip export restrictions

Key Points
  • Nvidia CFO Colette Kress downplayed the effect of the potential export restrictions at a financial conference on Wednesday, saying that they would not have an "immediate financial impact" on the surging chipmaker.

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A Nvidia Corp. HGX H100 artificial intelligence supercomputing graphics processing unit at the showroom of the company's offices in Taipei, Taiwan, June 2, 2023.
I-Hwa Cheng | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday evening that the U.S. was considering new restrictions on exporting artificial intelligence chips to China, which could affect Nvidia, the leader in the market for graphics processors needed to build AI software like ChatGPT.

Nvidia CFO Colette Kress downplayed the effect of the potential export restrictions at a financial conference on Wednesday, saying that they would not have an "immediate financial impact" but that further restrictions could hurt the company's growth in the future.

Nvidia's stock started recovering on Kress' comments before ultimately falling about 1.8% on Wednesday. The company's shares are up more than 179% so far in 2023.

"We are aware of reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce is considering further controls that may restrict exports of A800 and our H800 products to China," Kress said, referring to the company's chips. "However, given the strength of our demand for our products worldwide, we do not anticipate that such additional restrictions, if adopted, would have an immediate material impact on our financial results."

Kress said that China accounts for between 20% and 25% of the company's data center revenue, which totaled $4.28 billion in sales in the first quarter. That includes other chips, not just those used for AI, including networking parts.

Kress said Nvidia's growth prospects could be impacted.

"Over the long term, restrictions prohibiting the sale of our data center products to China, if implemented, we will result in a permanent loss of opportunities for the U.S. industry to compete and lead in one of the world's largest markets. And the impact on our future business and financial results is there," Kress continued.

Nvidia is the leader in the parts needed to build advanced AI systems, and AI engineers covet the company's A100 and new H100 chips. Washington has been working to restrict Chinese access to the company's technology to prevent people and companies in the region from catching up to the U.S.

Nvidia had previously introduced A800 and H800 chips with tweaked and slowed-down hardware to comply with the U.S. export controls. But according to the Journal, new Commerce Department limits could restrict the export of even those chips.