Date
24 November 2017
IBM and its partners are targeting Intel Corp.’s near-total lock on the market for chips used for cloud-based functions by major Web companies. Photo: Internet
IBM and its partners are targeting Intel Corp.’s near-total lock on the market for chips used for cloud-based functions by major Web companies. Photo: Internet

Chinese chipmakers embrace IBM technology

Chinese chipmakers have been adopting IBM technology since the United States giant opened it to other companies.

Among the latest to take the offer is China’s Suzhou PowerCore Technology Co. which said it will have its own variant of the IBM Power8 microprocessor, the Wall Stret Journal reported Friday.

It was the first chip to emerge from IBM’s OpenPower program.

The Chinese variant, called CP1, is expected to be used initially by another Chinese company, Zoom Netcom, in a new line of servers dubbed RedPower. 

An array of hardware based on Power8 technology was on display at an event in Silicon Valley this week, including prototype circuit boards by Google Inc. and Rackspace Hosting Inc. and servers by China’s Inspur Group Co.

The terms of IBM’s OpenPower licensing have not been disclosed.

IBM and its partners are targeting Intel Corp.’s near-total lock on the market for microprocessor chips used in servers, particularly the type used by big Web companies and other cloud-style facilities.

“What we do is we develop based on key industries’ needs,” Suzhou PowerCore chairman Adam Zhu said.

Mr. Zhu said his company is in discussions with a range of potential customers in China about using the Power8 technology, including communications carriers and power companies.

He expects the chip to be ready in June.

Ken King, IBM general manager for OpenPower alliances, said Chinese officials endorsed the program last fall, helping to spur demand in the country.

“It’s a local China pull versus an IBM push,” he said.

IBM, which has been reducing its reliance on revenue from selling hardware, uses its Power microprocessor line, of which Power8 is the latest, in one of two remaining computer lines.

The Power8 is known for extremely high performance.

But the IBM server business that uses the chip line has been shrinking, so the company opted to change its tactics to reach cloud-based services, which have been the most active server buyers lately.

Such customers often favor commodity-style servers and components that are available from many suppliers. One of IBM’s thrusts is to sell its own Power8 chips to makers of such hardware.

The first is Taiwan’s Tyan Computer Corp., a server supplier that is a unit of MiTAC International Corp. IBM recently said its cloud services unit SoftLayer would offer the Tyan systems as an option.

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CG/RA

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