Huawei’s HiSilicon Chip Division Has Reportedly Been Developing Backup Products for Years in the Event of a U.S. Ban

May 22, 2019
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Even with the Android ban aggression scaled down to give Huawei some breathing time, but the fact that ARM has refused to do business with the Chinese giant means that the company will have trouble launching future Kirin chipsets for its smartphones and tablets. To mitigate the effects of the Android ban, Huawei has reportedly been working on its custom HongMeng OS, and according to the latest report, the firm’s HiSilicon division has apparently been preparing for this very scenario.

HiSilicon Has Reportedly Been Developing Products in Secrecy as a Result to Tone Down the Deleterious Effects of the Ban and to Reduce Dependency on U.S. Firms

In a letter written to the president of Huawei Technologies, He Tingbo, the company’s subsidiary HiSilicon, which makes the Kirin chipsets for the manufacturer’s phones, said that the current scenario was not unanticipated. That’s why the company has been stockpiling components so that it wouldn’t face problems in the event the U.S. bans it from procuring American products. For now, the company is confident about a steady supply of most products and in the meanwhile, it aims to become self-sufficient.

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Although some of Huawei’s smartphones are underpinned by Kirin chipsets, many of them are also fueled by chips developed by Qualcomm and MediaTek. Back in March, the company’s rotating chairman Eric Xu revealed that HiSilicon cranked out more than $7.5 billion worth of chipsets in 2018. However, the bulk of chipsets still came from third-party vendors, as the company spent $21 billion on procuring chips. Huawei reportedly wants to replace U.S.-made products with HiSilicon components but didn’t provide details on how it plans to achieve this goal.

Now that Qualcomm, Broadcom, Google, Intel, and the other U.S. companies will not be doing business with Huawei unless the ban imposed on it by the Trump administration is lifted, the company will have to make do with its in-house products as well as those from on-U.S. companies. Luckily for the tech giant, a lot of its suppliers, including Sony, Samsung, and BOE will still continue to supply parts.

HiSilicon is already something of a leader when it comes to 5G modems and LTE modem solutions, so a portion of hardware might not be as much as of an issue as software, as the company’s in-house operating system is apparently far from ready.

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Source: Reuters

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