The U.S. government's hostile actions against China's Huawei will soon have a serious impact on the company's ability to source vital components for its flagship devices. Huawei has confirmed that the upcoming Mate 40 series will feature its last high-end Kirin processor.
Richard Yu, the CEO of consumer business at Huawei, announced during the 2020 Summit of the China Information Technology Association that the company would lose its means to produce the Kirin 9000 chipset after September 15. That date marks the end of every business transaction that a U.S. company can make with Huawei, unless approved by the federal government. In May of this year, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a ruling that would require foreign companies to obtain a license from the U.S. government before they can supply chips to Huawei or any of its subsidiaries like HiSilicon, which relies on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for chip fabrication. TSMC, in turn, obtains some of its equipment from the U.S.
Huawei can also hardly turn to China's chip manufacturers as well. The Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, a Shanghai-based semiconductor foundry company, doesn't have the means to fill the gap, Yu revealed at the summit. In addition, the Huawei executive said the firm would limit the supplies of the Mate 40 phones. Yu added:
"We made huge R&D investments and went through a difficult journey. Unfortunately, when it came to semiconductor production, Huawei didn't participate in investing in heavy assets in this field; we only did chip design but skipped chip production."
The news compounds Huawei's woes for its Mate 40 production. The upcoming flagship smartphone could be facing delays already after the company informed some of its suppliers that it would reduce its component orders due to supply-chain interruptions following the U.S. export ban.