Tencent joins RISC-V organization

Tencent has joined the organization behind open source chip architecture RISC-V. It is the latest in a line of Chinese companies to get started with RISC-V. Chinese companies can do little with other processor architectures because of US sanctions.

Tencent has become a ‘premier member’, a membership that costs a quarter of a million dollars a year, writes South China Morning Post. This makes Tencent the 13th Chinese member of the 25 companies that are in the RISC-V organization. Tencent is a Chinese tech giant and is known for games and the WeChat app, among other things. It already released its own chips last year 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 on its site to the list of members. From China, Alibaba Cloud, ZTE and Huawei are among them. From the west, Intel, Google and Qualcomm, among others, are members of the organization. The US government wants to hinder chip development in China with sanctions, which means that Chinese companies are not allowed to make chips with EUV machines or with 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 found in The Rise of RISC-V – Towards Open Source Processors.