Mate 40 will be equipped with Huawei’s ultimate high-end Kirin processor. After September 15th, the company will not be able to manufacture these chips. When Mate 40 comes out later this year, it will be Huawei’s last mobile phone with its own high-end Kirin processor.
Li Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business, shared the news in a speech at the 2020 Summit of China Information Technology Association. After September 15, Yu said that Huawei will no longer be able to produce Mate 40 Kirin 9000 processors.
September 15th was a time when US suppliers were unable to sell parts to Huawei without the approval of the federal government due to the Trump administration’s decision in May to include the company on the US Department of Commerce’s entity list.
So far, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has produced most of Kirin chips and purchased some equipment from the United States.
It needs government approval to continue manufacturing chips for Huawei. Soon after the Trump administration announced the ban on Howe, TSMC stated that it would no longer provide products to the company, but would still complete all outstanding orders.
Yu also said that Chinese chipmakers such as SMIC are currently unable to fill this gap. He also warned that the supply of Mate 40 will be limited.
The Trump administration’s ban on entity lists has already had a significant impact on Huawei. The company has faced an uphill battle trying to make its phones attractive without having to visit the Google Play store.
However, the fact that it cannot manufacture its high-end chips may be worse. If Huawei has a silver lining, it is that its Kirin series has not completely disappeared. Earlier this year, China’s largest chip foundry, SMIC, began producing 14nm Kirin chips for Huawei.
One day it may have the ability to compete with TSMC and Samsung in the process node. But this may take some time because the company is two generations behind Huawei’s previous suppliers.
Yu said: “Huawei has spent more than ten years researching chipsets, from’severely behind’ to’very behind’ to’slightly behind’ to’finally catching up’ and then leading’ to now being banned. We have made huge R&D investments and have gone through a difficult journey. Unfortunately, in terms of semiconductor production, Huawei has not participated in the heavy asset investment in this field; we only conduct chip design, but skip chip production.”