Tesla Inc (TSLA-Q) Quote – Press Release

Tesla Inc (TSLA-Q) Quote – Press Release

Countries globally accuse Chinese companies of selling products at unfair and subsidized prices, and impose tariffs to fend off cheap Chinese products. Meanwhile, even China itself is not immune from the cut-throat competition that Chinese companies have triggered globally.

The Chinese market is among the most competitive in the world, which invariably leads to aggressive pricing. As a result, the world’s second-largest economy is the battleground for several price wars. The electric vehicle (EV) price war probably gets the most attention, as companies including Tesla (TSLA), NIO (NIO), and Xpeng Motors (XPEV) have all cut prices over the last year.

China Plays Host to Several Price Wars

There are also signs of a price war in the Chinese smartphone industry. Apple (AAPL) has lowered iPhone prices twice this year in China as the Cupertino-based company faces stiff competition – especially from Huawei. There has also been a cloud price war, and Chinese tech companies have cut prices drastically to fend off competition.

More recently, there has been an AI price war, as players like Alibaba (BABA) and JD.com (JD) have slashed prices for their artificial intelligence (AI) services. What does this price war mean for the broader AI industry, and especially for Nvidia (NVDA), which is on the cusp of becoming a $3 trillion company? We’ll discuss in this article.

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China’s AI Price War Begins

The AI price war in China began when TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, announced the pricing for its Doubao large language model (LLM), which the company said was 99% lower compared to the average industry pricing for enterprise customers.

After the aggressive pricing from ByteDance, other Chinese tech companies followed suit. While Alibaba cut prices of some of its Qwen LLM models by as much as 97%, rival Baidu (BIDU) said it would offer two of its Ernie LLM models for free for enterprise users.

Even before the price war, the prices for AI services in China were below what Western competitors like OpenAI charge. The AI price war in China is an early sign of the complexities involved in monetizing AI.

Nvidia Believes Companies Will Make Tangible Returns on Their AI Investments

Currently, most companies are in the investment phase of AI, and in the U.S., Big Tech companies are spending billions of dollars to ramp up their AI infrastructure. These investments have yet to transform into major financial gains for tech giants, with the notable exception of Nvidia. 

Tech companies are telling shareholders to be patient in the meantime. Meta Platforms (META) compared its AI investments to past initiatives like Reels, Stories, and the transition to mobile to drive home the point that Meta shares can be volatile during periods when the company is investing in new products that have yet to be monetized.

According to Nvidia CFO Colette Kress, cloud providers are seeing “immediate and strong return” on their AI investments. During the company’s fiscal Q1 2025 earnings call earlier this month, she stressed, “For every $1 spent on NVIDIA AI infrastructure, cloud providers have an opportunity to earn $5 in GPU instant hosting revenue over 4 years.” 

During Amazon’s (AMZN) Q1 earnings call, CEO Andy Jassy said that “tens of thousands” of customers are using Bedrock – its cloud-based AI service. He expects that customer spending on GenAI could last for the next 2 decades.

How Could the AI Price War Impact Chipmakers?

Much of AI spending currently is being channeled into acquiring chips, predominantly from Nvidia. After the U.S. export restrictions, the Jensen Huang-led company hasn’t been able to export its top-of-the-line AI chips to China. Nvidia did design some chips for China that were within the limits set by the U.S., but has reportedly lowered their prices amid competition from Huawei. 

So far, there is not even a hint of an AI chip war in the U.S., where companies are scrambling to buy Nvidia’s offerings – which the company cannot seemingly produce fast enough. 

However, companies across a diverse spectrum, which includes chipmakers, Big Tech companies, as well as startup companies, are all working on their own AI chips. While Nvidia continues to dominate the AI chip market – and in all likelihood, will continue to do so for the near future – competing chips from rivals would lead to competition and pricing pressure.

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Why Should Nvidia Investors Be Watching China’s AI Price War?

It would be pertinent to draw an analogy between the AI price war and the EV price war. Tesla initially began lowering prices in China in 2022, and the price war spread worldwide as companies cut prices to boost their deliveries amid rising competition.

Amid the price war and fears of Chinese EVs flooding their domestic markets, the U.S. has already increased tariffs on Chinese EVs to 100%, while the E.U. is contemplating its own tariffs.

The AI price war could become a reality as more companies build their LLMs. In the chip space, the premium pricing Nvidia is currently enjoying could come under pressure if other companies can design compelling products.

While the AI price war in China is not an immediate risk for Nvidia, it’s certainly a development that investors should watch, as the stock is not getting any cheaper by the day, and needs to justify its mammoth market cap.

On the date of publication, Mohit Oberoi had a position in: TSLA , NIO , XPEV , BABA , JD , AAPL , META , AMZN , NVDA . All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.

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