Huawei Technologies’ Mate60 Pro smartphone shows “significant progress” in China’s domestic design and engineering of radio frequency chips, according to the latest findings from research firm TechInsights.
The Shenzhen-based company’s handsets include RF switches from Maxscend Microelectronics and power amplification modules from Beijing OnMicro Electronics, components most commonly provided by US suppliers Skyworks Solutions and Qorvo, respectively. The architecture “is tailored for the Chinese industry” and suggests there was design collaboration between Huawei and its suppliers, TechInsights said in a post on Monday.
Importantly, the advances in chip design suggest Huawei’s hardware is capable of competing with the world’s best, even without access to US suppliers. Radio frequency chips manage a smartphone’s communication with base stations that link to the internet, a core function for any device.
The Mate60 caused a stir when it debuted in late August with its 7-nanometre processor, which showed China had the sort of advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities that US trade sanctions were trying to prevent. That meant Huawei could produce modern smartphones without Qualcomm chips, and further investigation now shows it’s finding workarounds to more US industry linchpins like Skyworks and Qorvo.
The 7nm processor was designed by Huawei and produced by Semiconductor Manufacturing International, a Shanghai-based company that is now under investigation by US regulators. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP