Author Topic: Huawei's HiSilicon chip making unit future uncertain  (Read 9765 times)

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gurutek

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Huawei's HiSilicon chip making unit future uncertain
« on: June 03, 2019, 06:22:16 AM »


When the news first broke last month that Huawei was essentially being banned from procuring parts from the U.S., many thought that the company would be fine obtaining chips for its phones. After all, Huawei's top-shelf handsets are powered by its homegrown chipsets designed by the firm's HiSilicon unit. As the Wall Street Journal points out today, HiSilicon designed chips are also found in base stations that are part of the 5G networking equipment sold by Huawei. Note that the actual manufacturing of these chips is done in foundries owned by Taiwan based TSMC, which plans to continue doing business with the beleaguered outfit.


But the software used by HiSilicon to design chips is purchased from two U.S. companies, Synopsys Inc. and Cadence Design Systems Inc., and Huawei still spent $11 billion last year on parts purchased from American companies like Qualcomm, Intel, and Micron. While Huawei says that in anticipation of getting banned it has stockpiled a year's worth of chips, in the long-term the ban could prevent Huawei from designing chips that include new technologies. That could leave Huawei phones behind its competitors when it comes to new features.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Huawei chips-wise came from a U.K. based chip design firm that uses some American technology. When ARM Holdings announced that it was cutting ties with the company, Huawei lost the rights to include ARM's widely used basic designs for its chips. However, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei says that losing ARM's designs "doesnít have an impact" on his company.

The day after the announcement that Huawei and 68 affiliates were being placed on the U.S. Commerce Department's Entity List, HiSilicon President Teresa He wrote a memo to his employees. In the note, the executive stressed that any new products had to be self-sufficient in terms of the technology needed to make it work. "We must not only be open to innovation but also achieve independence in technologies," she stated.