NVIDIA to supply its advanced AI GPUs to Middle East countries after US sanctions block China

NVIDIA thinks it can get an export license to sell its AI GPUs to telecom companies operating in multiple Middle East countries, skirting US sanctions.

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Because of US sanctions, NVIDIA has been restricted from supplying multiple countries across the Middle East, but more importantly, China has been restricted from shipping its leading AI GPUs.

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It appears that might be changing with a new report from Reuters teasing that NVIDIA believes it can get an export license to sell its AI GPUs to a telecom giant that operates in multiple Middle East countries. NVIDIA has reportedly inked a deal with Ooredoo to "introduce its AI technology" in datacenters across five Middle Eastern countries.

This would mark NVIDIA's first major expansion that has US export regulations stamped on it, somewhere that the company isn't allowed to provide its AI GPUs to: the Middle East (it's not just China). Ooredoo is a telecom giant that operates in the Middle East, and will soon be powered by NVIDIA AI and HPC GPUs across its datacenters located in Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia, Oman, Kuwait, and the Maldives.

Ooredoo will be the first in the Middle East to offer NVIDIA-powered services to its clients, which will make them a leader and provide a hefty competitive edge in deploying generative AI applications and services to customers in the Middle East. Will Ooredoo allow Chinese companies to use the NVIDIA AI and HPC GPUs in the cloud, well, that's a very good question raised by our friends at Tom's Hardware.

Ooredoo CEO Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo said that the agreement with NVIDIA will allow their business clients to use services that their competitors might not have for up to 2 more years. We don't know which GPUs that NVIDIA will be supplying, but current US sanctions wouldn't allow higher-end H100, H200 and B100, B200 AI GPUs from entering the Middle East.

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On the power side of things, Ooredoo is investing a chunky $1.4 billion to expand its regional datacenter capacity by another 20-25 megawatts, adding to its current 40 megawatts, reports Reuters. That's a decent power upgrade, and the company will need it when it adds in NVIDIA's new AI GPUs. Ooredoo also has plans to triple its capacity by 2030 nearly.

Ooredoo has also separated its datacenters into an independent company, with plans to also spin off its undersea cables and fiber network into a separate entity. The overall strategy is the optimize its operations and increase its market competitiveness.

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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