Huawei Technologies and China’s top chip maker, SMIC, have built an advanced, 7-nanometre processor to power its latest smartphone, according to a teardown report by analysis firm TechInsights.
Huawei’s Mate60 Pro is powered by a new Kirin 9000s chip that was made in China by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), TechInsights said in the report on Monday.
Huawei started selling its Mate60 Pro phone last week. The specifications provided advertised its ability to make satellite calls, but offered no information on the power of the chipset inside.
The processor is the first to utilise SMIC’s most advanced 7nm technology and suggests the Chinese government is making some headway in attempts to build a domestic chip ecosystem, the research firm said.
Huawei and SMIC did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Buyers of the phone in China have been posting teardown videos and sharing speed tests on social media that suggest the Mate60 Pro is capable of download speeds exceeding those of top-line 5G phones.
The phone’s launch sent Chinese social media users and state media into a frenzy, with some noting it coincided with a visit by US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo.
From 2019, the US has restricted Huawei’s access to chip-making tools essential for producing the most advanced handset models, with the company only able to launch limited batches of 5G models using stockpiled chips.
Return to 5G
But research firms said in July that they believed Huawei was planning a return to the 5G smartphone industry by the end of this year, using its own advances in semiconductor design tools along with chip-making from SMIC.
Dan Hutcheson, an analyst with TechInsights, said the development comes as a “slap in the face” to the US. “Raimondo comes seeking to cool things down, and this chip is [saying], ‘Look what we can do, we don’t need you,'” he said. — Shivani Tanna and Max A, (c) 2023 Reuters