Musing on Huawei
US Tightens Restrictions on Huawei, HiSilicon Engineers Jumping Ship
The Trump administration announced further tighten restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co, aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips. The expanded restrictions are aimed at preventing the Huawei from obtaining semiconductors without a special license - including chips made by foreign firms that have been developed or produced with equipment or software made by US companies. Add to the blacklist will be 38 Huawei affiliates in 21 countries raising the total to 152 affiliates since Huawei was first added in May 2019.
With U.S.-China relations at their worst in decades, Washington is pushing governments around to world to squeeze Huawei, arguing it would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei, of course, denies it spies for China.
The new actions, effective immediately, should prevent Huawei’s attempts to circumvent U.S. export controls, Commerce said.
The Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents 95% of the US Semiconductor Industry released the following statement regarding export control rule changes made by the US Department of Commerce. Here’s the text:
“We are still reviewing the rule, but these broad restrictions on commercial chip sales will bring significant disruption to the US semiconductor industry. We are surprised and concerned by the administration’s sudden shift from its prior support of a more narrow approach intended to achieve stated national security goals while limiting harm to US companies. We reiterate our view that sales of non-sensitive commercial products to China drive semiconductor research and innovation here in the US, which is critical to America’s economic strength and national security.”
Many HiSilicon engineers have left the Huawei IC design arm's team in Taiwan. Huawei, struggling to survive the US trade ban, reportedly is looking to build its own 45nm chip fabs without using US technology, a move industry observers describe as "mission impossible."