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William Malcolm

China Made Zhaoxin CPU Hits Czech Market

A processor from China is starting to be sold on the Czech market. It is supplied here by the Taiwanese company QNAP as part of its network storage for households and small businesses. The equipped processor is developed by the Chinese company Zhaoxin, which is a competitor of the American companies Intel and AMD the only one in the world that holds a license to develop so-called x86 chips.

China is trying to expand abroad in this area for the first time. Chinese chips can be seen in products sold on the domestic market for several years. They are used, for example, in telecommunication and network elements from Huawei or in some Chinese smartphones. However, these are specialized chips, while the technology from Zhaoxin falls into the category of universal processors, as we know them not only from personal computers.

Zhaoxin has been operating since 2013. It is a joint venture between the Shanghai government and the Taiwanese company VIA Technologies. It got to x86 technology thanks to Intel. The American icon failed to meet demand in the late 1990s and licensed the technology to VIA and AMD. VIA later looked for a strategic investor. At the time, China was exploring ways to get its own processors. And Zhaoxin was born.

“The European Union is now looking for ways to develop its own chips. It is a pity that she did not think like this at the time when VIA was looking for a partner, we could have x86 technology in Europe, “describes Slovak technologist Juraj (he does not want to publish his full name) for the E15 daily, who has been buying and testing Zhaoxin processors for several years. According to his conclusions, they are a performance behind Intel and AMD, but they are fully sufficient for ordinary users.

Zhaoxin is one of China’s efforts to become independent in the semiconductor industry. The United States government has imposed an embargo on a number of Chinese companies, so they have trouble accessing and manufacturing chips. This has mobilized investment in China, including government support in excess of $ 100 billion. Similarly, for example, Huawei is trying to develop the HarmonyOS operating system as a replacement for Android.

According to critics, including the Dutch company ASML, which supplies the most advanced chip machines, the sanctions have the opposite effect. “Without US sanctions against Huawei, HarmonyOS would have virtually no priority as a replacement for Android. Back in 2018, the primary goals were completely different and Huawei had no reason to disrupt the mutually beneficial cooperation with Google and other Western suppliers, “outlines Martin Děcký, who until recently participated in the development of HarmonyOS as a researcher in Germany, for the E15 daily.

A significant increase in Zhaoxin cannot be expected for the time being. According to Mercury Research figures, it has a global share of 0.1 percent. However, the share of devices with its processors in foreign markets is starting to increase. The first computer began to be sold in Asia and laptops in China. They are starting to go on sale, because they will cost about six thousand crowns. In the Czech Republic, the QNAP device with a Chinese processor is sold by the CZC e-shop. According to his sales specialist Lukáš Komárek, it is not yet possible to draw conclusions about sales, because it is a new product. QNAP does not comment on sales.