ByteDance partners with Broadcom for advanced AI chip

Manufacturing will be outsourced to Taiwan’s TSMC, although production is expected to start later this year.

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ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, is collaborating with US chip designer Broadcom to develop an advanced AI processor. This 5-nanometer chip, compliant with US export restrictions, will be manufactured by Taiwan’s TSMC. The initiative is aimed at securing a stable supply of high-end chips amid ongoing US-China tensions.

Unannounced to the public, the partnership represents one of the few recent collaborations involving advanced technology between US and Chinese firms since Washington’s 2022 export controls on cutting-edge semiconductors. ByteDance’s tie-up with Broadcom, an existing partner, is expected to reduce costs and ensure a steady supply of sophisticated chips, which are essential for ByteDance’s AI initiatives.

The new chip is still in the design phase, with manufacturing not expected to start this year. ByteDance’s push in generative AI requires advanced chips, which have become more challenging to obtain due to US sanctions. The company has been stockpiling Nvidia chips and has purchased AI accelerators from Huawei, emphasising the critical need for powerful algorithms across its platforms, including TikTok and Douyin.

ByteDance is actively hiring for semiconductor-related roles, including ASIC chip designers, and has been recruiting top talent from other Chinese AI chip firms. The company’s strategic efforts highlight its commitment to overcoming challenges posed by restricted access to advanced technology.