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Huawei to stop making Kirin processors amid US pressure

After Sept. 15, Chinese tech firm will no longer be able to produce its advanced Kirin chips

Huawei logo at Shenzhen International Airport (Reuters photo)

Huawei logo at Shenzhen International Airport (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Huawei Technologies Company will stop making its advanced Kirin chipsets next month as U.S. pressure on the Chinese tech firm continues to build.

During a speech at the 2020 Summit of the China Information Technology Association, Richard Yu (余承東), the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Unit, said that the Mate 40, which will be released later this year, will be the last Huawei phone to have its own high-end Kirin processors, Engadget reported. After Sept. 15, Huawei will no longer be able to produce its Kirin 9000 processor for the Mate 40.

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department announced orders that require software and manufacturing equipment suppliers to cease doing business with the Chinese company unless they first obtain a license, according to Reuters. This made it impossible for Huawei’s HiSilicon chip division to keep making processors for its phones.

Huawei’s HiSilicon division needs software from U.S. firms like Cadence Design Systems Inc. or Synopsys, Inc. to design its chips, while it outsourced production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which used American equipment to manufacture chips, Reuters reported. After Washington announced the ban, TSMC made the decision to stop doing business with Huawei.

Another problem for Huawei is that China’s own Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), which also uses U.S.-made equipment, currently does not have the ability to produce advanced chips, according to Android Authority. SMIC, which currently can only produce 14-nanometer chips, is generations behind TSMC.

HiSilicon makes several types of chips, including the Kirin processors line, which are only used in Huawei smartphones and are the only Chinese chips that can rival those from Qualcomm in terms of quality, Reuters reported.

This means that Huawei may have to turn to another Taiwanese firm, MediaTek, for its chips. Industry analysts say that Huawei purchases from MediaTek could increase up to 300 percent this year due to the trade war, Android Authority reported.