US government doesn’t think Huawei’s 5G chipset can be produced at scale


Late last month, Huawei made a surprise announcement when they took the wraps off their brand new Mate 60 Pro smartphone. Why was this announcement surprising? It was surprising because the phone contains a brand new 7nm chipset that came with 5G technology that was manufactured by China’s SMIC.

Now according to a statement put out by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, it seems that Huawei’s claims might have been a bit exaggerated. Raimondo was quoted as saying, “We don’t have any evidence that they can manufacture seven-nanometer (chips) at scale.”

This doesn’t mean that they don’t believe that Huawei and SMIC could have developed this chip. It’s more like if such a breakthrough chipset were developed, the US government doesn’t think that Huawei or SMIC has the capability to manufacture the chipset at scale, at least not enough for it to be particularly significant.

This is an important distinction because new technology is being developed all the time. Battery tech is a good example, where over the years we’ve seen a multitude of new battery technology that is supposed to be the answer to our lithium-ion problems. The only problem is that while the tech exists, producing it on a large scale for it to be commercialized is a different story.

While 5G phones aren’t new, but the main reason why we haven’t seen the tech in Huawei’s phones is due to the ongoing export ban against Huawei, where the Chinese company is not allowed to do business with US based companies. They are also not allowed to use components that might contain US intellectual properties.

To that end, the Commerce Department says that they are working on obtaining more information about the chipset and whether it might have violated trade restrictions. Other departments within the US government have also urged the Commerce Department to stop granting licenses to both Huawei and SMIC.

Source: Reuters

Tyler Lee
A graphic novelist wannabe. Amateur chef. Mechanical keyboard enthusiast. Writer of tech with over a decade of experience. Juggles between using a Mac and Windows PC, switches between iOS and Android, believes in the best of both worlds.

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