Huawei to stop making Kirin chips as US pressure bites - TechCentral

Huawei to stop making Kirin chips as US pressure bites

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

U.S. pressure on Huawei’s suppliers has made it impossible for the company’s HiSilicon chip division to keep making the chips, 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 US 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 licence.

“From 15 September 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.”

US equipment

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

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

Richard Yu

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.”  — Reported by Josh Horwitz and David Kirton, (c) 2020 Reuters

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