In brief: AMD’s x86 IP licensing agreement with a consortium of private and public Chinese companies is not being expanded beyond the first-generation Zen architecture.
Back in 2016, AMD struck a $293 million (plus royalties) deal with a consortium known as Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. (THATIC), which would see it license AMD’s x86 and SoC IP for developing chips that would be sold exclusively in China.
The deal gave China access to x86 technology, and in 2018, Chinese manufacturer Hygon started production on Dhyana x86 processors, which are said to be virtually identical to AMD’s EPYC CPUs, with the only difference being the unique vendor IDs and family series numbers.
Speaking to AMD boss Lisa Su, Tom’s Hardware reports that while the company will keep working with the THATIC joint venture (JV), it is “not discussing any additional technology transfers.” Su added that most of the work happened on the JV’s side.
"THATIC was a single-generation technology license, and there are no additional technology licenses," the CEO explained. This means that while THIATIC was given access to first-gen Zen microarchitecture, it will not be granted access to Zen 2.
Su did not give a reason why AMD wouldn’t be licensing its latest tech, though it could be related to the trade war between the US and China. Su previously said AMD would adhere to US regulations when asked about the company’s relationship with Huawei.