China Mobile has built the largest single intelligent computing center for global operators

On April 28th, the reporter learned from the 2024 China Mobile Computing Network Conference that China Mobile will open its intelligent computing centers located in Harbin, Hohhot, and Guiyang in 2024. The three intelligent computing centers will provide a total of nearly 60000 core computing resources for AI acceleration cards.

Zhang Pengfei, Manager of the Business Support Department of China Mobile’s Planning and Construction Department, told reporters that China Mobile has officially launched 12 intelligent computing centers nationwide, covering tasks such as data processing, model development, model training, and model inference. According to China Mobile, the company’s intelligent computing center located in Hohhot, which has been put into operation, is the world’s largest single intelligent computing center, deploying about 20000 AI acceleration cards. The localization rate of AI chips exceeds 85%, and the scale of intelligent computing power is 6.7 EFLOPS (67 billion floating-point operations per second), filling the huge gap in computing power required for the widespread application of artificial intelligence in China.

Yang Jie, Chairman of China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd., stated at the conference that the acceleration of the integration of new generation information technology into the economy, society, and people’s livelihoods has triggered a new round of deep and structural changes in computing infrastructure, following cloud computing, presenting three trends. One is the diversification of computing power, the second is the integration of computing networks, and the third is the full domain AI.

Yang Jie stated that artificial intelligence, as the most revolutionary technological force at present, will reshape the service form and operation mode of computing infrastructure in the system. On the one hand, the load of computing infrastructure will change from Internet applications to AI native applications such as general university model, AI agent, bit wise man, humanoid robot, etc. On the other hand, the operation of computing power infrastructure will deeply integrate intelligence, forming AI native capabilities such as global resource perception, natural language interaction, AI assisted programming, and system self agency, significantly improving the level of large-scale, high-performance, and low-energy computing power supply, and assisting the innovation of “artificial intelligence+” applications in the whole society.

Regarding China Mobile’s future planning in the field of AI intelligent computing, Yang Jie stated that China Mobile will focus on the entire process of AI big model research and development, deployment, and application, accelerate the adaptation of domestic intelligent computing cards and collaborative training of multiple intelligent computing centers, and provide integrated services of data, computing power, and training and promotion. China Mobile is collaborating with advanced manufacturing enterprises such as Lixun Precision and Hengtong Optoelectronics to create a number of benchmark projects for AI empowering new industrialization.

The reporter found that starting from 2023, the procurement demand for cloud computing power by operators has stabilized, and the demand growth rate is no longer the same as in previous years. The reason for the data change is that operators have new plans for their layout in computing power. The outbreak of AI has increased the proportion of intelligent computing power in the global computing power market, while the proportion of general computing power has declined. Despite the current large scale of general computing power in China, intelligent computing power is relatively insufficient. In this context, the three major operators have recently made statements in public to layout AI computing power.

The bidding for the procurement of AI servers by China Telecom has been completed recently, with a total of 4175 training servers purchased, with an estimated procurement amount of approximately 8.4 billion yuan; China Unicom’s first centralized procurement of AI servers at its headquarters. On March 23, 2024, China Unicom issued a pre qualification announcement for the 2024 China Unicom Artificial Intelligence Server Centralized Procurement Project, which will purchase a total of 2503 artificial intelligence servers and 688 key networking equipment ROCE switches. The estimated procurement amount is 4 billion yuan.

China Mobile has recently launched the centralized procurement of new intelligent computing centers from 2024 to 2025. According to bidding data, the hardware scale collected in this round has reached 8054 units, including 7994 artificial intelligence servers and supporting products, and 60 white box switches. Previously, China Mobile also released the 2023-2024 new intelligent computing center (experimental network) centralized procurement project, with a total of 2454 AI training servers purchased for 12 packages. The total scale of two centralized purchases of artificial intelligence servers exceeded 10000 units.