Nvidia agreement: Restrictions on American chips are simply part of normal business operations, says Ooredoo CEO.

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On Wednesday, the Qatari telecommunications provider Ooredoo reassured that its recent collaboration with Nvidia is in compliance with all U.S. regulations and ensures continued access to cutting-edge technology.

Earlier this week, Ooredoo forged a partnership with Nvidia, marking the chip manufacturer’s initial significant foray into the Middle Eastern market. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

This strategic alliance entails the deployment of numerous Nvidia GPUs (graphics processing units) in 26 data centers spread across Qatar and five additional countries – Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, and the Maldives. These GPUs will facilitate the processing of vast volumes of data in the data centers, supporting AI chatbots and other tools crucial to a nation’s AI infrastructure.

The collaboration follows the U.S. imposing restrictions last year on the sale of certain advanced chips to select Middle Eastern countries, citing concerns that the technology could be intercepted by China.

While Washington permits the export of some Nvidia chips to the region, Nvidia, AMD, and Intel have all expressed intentions to develop less potent chips for export to the Chinese market. The restrictions primarily target A100 and H100 chips, not GPUs (a different type of semiconductor) crucial to this specific venture.

According to Ooredoo, this agreement is in full compliance with U.S. regulations, and it does not introduce any new licensing requirements for different chips.

“As a telecom operator, navigating stringent regulations is part and parcel of our daily operations. We are accustomed to engaging with regulatory bodies and governmental entities, whether at a local or international level,” shared Ooredoo’s CEO.

The intense competition between China and the U.S. to acquire and safeguard the latest AI technology has been playing out. The top AI group in the United Arab Emirates, G42, pledged to eliminate Chinese hardware to appease Washington and subsequently struck a $1.5 billion deal with Microsoft.

The Gulf states are leveraging their considerable energy resources to emerge as leaders in artificial intelligence, investing in technology development and importing substantial quantities of chips utilized in AI data centers.

As per Ooredoo’s CEO, the GPUs are cutting-edge, specially tailored for AI applications, capable of delivering advanced machine learning and optimal utilization of AI models and generative AI.

These chips will enhance citizen services for governments and boost productivity and efficiency for businesses, research, and development.

Ooredoo’s cloud collaboration with Nvidia aims to establish the chipmaker as the primary source for AI technology in the region, fostering innovation, growth, and job creation.

Ooredoo is committed to investing $1 billion to enhance its regional data center capacity even before announcing the Nvidia partnership. The CEO anticipates a substantial return on this investment in the upcoming years.

Backed by the Qatar Investment Authority, Ooredoo, which is dual-listed in Qatar and Abu Dhabi, intends to create an AI-driven platform powered by Nvidia to meet market demands.

Nvidia briefly claimed the title of the world’s most valuable company last week, surpassing Microsoft. The chip manufacturer experienced a market value rebound in Tuesday’s trading session, reversing a three-day decline that had wiped out over $550 billion.

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