Chipmaker Nvidia reported revenue of $3.08bn for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, surpassing expectations at a time when many firms are struggling to survive the pandemic.

Its data centre business, one of its main revenue drivers, reported sales topping $1bn for the first time. For the quarter ending 26 April, its total data centre revenue stood at $1.14bn, up from $634m from the same period last year.

The US firm’s gaming segment brought in sales of $1.34bn, up from $1.06bn a year ago. The increase in gaming during lockdown is likely to have driven demand for its graphics processing units (GPUs).

Net income for the period came in at $917m. Earnings per share were $1.47 and adjusted earnings were $1.80 per share.

“Cloud is a $100 billion market segment of IT today, growing at 40% into a $1 trillion opportunity,” said Jensen Huang, Nvidia founder and chief executive during an earnings call.

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“Cloud computing is the single largest IT industry transformation that we have ever seen. The two forces that are really driving our data-centre business are AI and Cloud computing. We’re perfectly positioned to benefit from these two powerful forces.”

Nvidia Q1 earnings: Bright outlook for Q2

The firm’s flagship GTC conference, due to take place in March in San Jose, switched to an online format in April. The change in format did not stop Nvidia from unveiling new products, such as its ‘Ampere’ architecture for its GPUs.

These have already been shipped to customers including Amazon Web Service and Microsoft, said Huang.

The firm is forecasting second-quarter revenue in the range of $3.58 billion to $3.72 billion, surpassing analysts’ prior expectations.

“Nvidia delivered a result in-line with robust expectations, supporting the unique position the company has in the semiconductor industry despite overall demand weakness in the back end of quarter one,” said Per Roman, co-founder and managing partner of investment firm GP Bullhound.

“Management note “solid” visibility into the current quarter and are not changing their guidance. I view that as a materially positive statement and we continue to hold the stock as one of our core portfolio holdings.”

Nvidia shares are up 46% year-to-date.

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