Technology Aug 10

Huawei to stop making flagship chipsets 

Says it will stop producing its Kirin chipsets from Sept 15, but Qualcomm is reportedly lobbying to sell chips to the Chinese tech giant

by Reuters
Huawei to stop making flagship chipsets

Huawei Technologies Co will stop making its flagship Kirin chipsets next month, financial magazine Caixin said on Saturday, as the impact of US pressure on the Chinese tech giant grows.

US pressure on Huawei's suppliers has made it impossible for the company's HiSilicon chip division to keep making the chipsets, key components for mobile phone, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Unit was quoted as saying at the launch of the company's new Mate 40 handset.

With US-China relations at their worst in decades, Washington is pressing governments around to world to squeeze Huawei out, arguing it would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei denies it spies for China.

The United States is also seeking the extradition from Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on charges of bank fraud.

In May the US Commerce Department issued orders that required suppliers of software and manufacturing equipment to refrain from doing business with Huawei without first obtaining a license.

"From Sept. 15 onward, our flagship Kirin processors cannot be produced," Yu said, according to Caixin. "Our AI-powered chips also cannot be processed. This is a huge loss for us."

Huawei's HiSilicon division relies on software from US companies such as Cadence Design Systems Inc or Synopsys Inc to design its chips and it outsources the production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which uses equipment from US companies.

Huawei declined comment on the Caixin report. TSMC, Cadence and Synopsys did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.

HiSilicon produces a wide range of chips including its line of Kirin processors, which power only Huawei smartphones and are the only Chinese processors that can rival those from Qualcomm in quality.

"Huawei began exploring the chip sector over 10 years ago, starting from hugely lagging behind, to slightly lagging behind, to catching up, and then to a leader," Yu was quoted as saying. "We invested massive resources for R&D, and went through a difficult process."

Qualcomm keen to sell chips to Huawei

Meanwhile, chipmaker Qualcomm Inc is lobbying the US government to revoke restrictions on sale of components to Huawei Technologies Co, after the Chinese company was blacklisted by the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Qualcomm is lobbying to sell chips to Huawei that the Chinese company would include in its 5G phones, according to the report, citing a presentation by Qualcomm.

With these restrictions, the US has handed Qualcomm's foreign competitors a market worth as much as $8 billion annually, the report said.

Qualcomm did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

The company resolved a licensing dispute with Huawei last month, which will pay Qualcomm a catch-up payment of $1.8 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter.