Tencent has joined the organization behind open source chip architecture RISC-V. It is the latest in a line of Chinese companies to work with RISC-V. Chinese companies cannot use other processor architectures because of American sanctions.
Tencent has become a ‘premier member’, a membership that costs a quarter of a million dollars per year, writes South China Morning Post. This makes Tencent the 13th Chinese member of the 25 companies in the RISC-V organization. Tencent is a Chinese tech giant and is known for games and the WeChat app, among other things. Last year it released its own chips for video processing and AI applications, among other things.
RISC-V, which is based in Switzerland, is allowed to share its technology with Chinese companies. The organization has added Tencent to its site list of members. From China this includes Alibaba Cloud, ZTE and Huawei. Members of the organization from the west include Intel, Google and Qualcomm. The US government wants to hinder chip development in China with sanctions, which will prevent Chinese companies from making chips with EUV machines or 5G, among other things. There are also limitations in the development of RISC-V, partly because Chinese companies have to import tools for the development of RISC-V chips, which is currently not allowed in many cases.
Presumably Tencent wants to be there if RISC-V develops into a full-fledged alternative to current processor architectures x86 from Intel and ARM from ARM. RISC-V is an open source ISA that is growing in popularity. More information about RISC-V can be read in The rise of RISC-V – On the way to open source processors.