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TSMC received a license to supply chips for Huawei, but there is one “but”

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In May 2019, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted Huawei, a Chinese company, of companies posing a threat to national security. Since then, the US has been literally trying to shut off Huawei’s oxygen by steadily tightening sanctions. So, in August, the White House introduced new restrictions, prohibiting cooperation with Huawei not only for local companies, but also for everyone who uses American technologies in their activities. As a result, the Chinese manufacturer lost its key suppliers, including TSMC. But now it became known that the Taiwanese chipmaker managed to get permission to cooperate with Huawei.

On Friday, September 9, sources in the Associated Press reported that TSMC has received a license from the US Department of Commerce to resume chip shipments for Huawei. True, it’s too early to rejoice. The permit was issued with a reservation. TSMC can indeed re-manufacture chips for Huawei devices, but only using old technological processes. Unfortunately, the allowed technological nodes (28 nm and older) are not suitable for modern smartphones and networking equipment. The license does not cover 16-, 10-, 7- and 5-nanometer rates.

Due to tougher US sanctions, the 5nm Kirin 9000 processor, which will form the basis of the flagship Mate 40 series of smartphones, the foldable Mate X2 smartphone and base stations for Huawei network equipment, may become the latest flagship chip of the Chinese company. This was previously stated by the head of Huawei Consumer Richard Yu (Richard Yu). The company was ready for tougher US sanctions and therefore ordered about 15 million Kirin 9000 processors from TSMC in advance, but was able to get only 8.8 million of them. This batch, according to analysts, will last about six months, and in a worst-case scenario, Huawei could leave the mobile market in the middle of next year.

Huawei and its partners can only hope that Donald Trump will lose in the upcoming presidential elections and the new administration will cancel the orders of the current government. The elections will take place in less than a month, on November 3.

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