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COVID-19 has mixed effect on Nvidia news

During an Nvidia news call this week, company officials said the coronavirus pandemic has had a mixed impact on its business, with work-from-home-related sales up but certain sectors, such as sales to internet cafes, down.

The GPU manufacturer was to deliver a talk on new products and announcements Tuesday, but because of the evolving COVID-19 situation, opted for an investor call instead. Although the company deferred any news announcements indefinitely, executives said product development was on track.

Colette Kress, Nvidia executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the company had seen the current remote-work trend drive sales of laptops and virtual GPUs or GPUs for virtual machines. Nvidia’s data center business, she said, was also on strong footing.

Jeff Fisher, senior vice president of the company’s PC business, said workers who need performance laptops — or those who require remote access to high-performance workstations — were among those who had pushed demand for Nvidia products.

The trend was also pronounced, he said, among remote learning students who needed computers that could accommodate video conferencing or advanced math and engineering work.

“The supply chain is getting back to work,” he said.

According to Fisher, Nvidia’s desktop hardware inventories were being replenished, but laptop inventories would likely remain below the norm because of the complexity of that supply chain.

Conversely, Kress said, the company was seeing headwinds in its internet cafe and retail business in China, as the country shut down stores and cafes during the peak of the outbreak. The cafes and traditional retailers were in the process of re-opening, she noted.

Kress said Nvidia was working to unlock the enterprise market, releasing a line of its hardware for creative professionals. She said artificial intelligence — and its increasing complexity — was helping to grow the firm’s business.

“AI is probably a technology force of our time,” she said. “Nvidia is uniquely positioned to power a good portion of the AI that’s out there.”

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