Unlike the operating systems that dominate the smartphone market today as a duo, the processors that ensure their performance are still slightly larger. This market is based on chips from Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek and Huawei. In principle, there are others, but they do not have any noticeable share to be taken into account. But these four manufacturers have long divided the industry among themselves, having bitten off a significant piece of the “pie”. The only pity is that there will be less one player in this market.
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Huawei is discontinuing production of Kirin processors, which were installed in the company’s branded smartphones. Despite the fact that these chips were designed and developed by Huawei engineers, a third-party company, the Taiwanese TSMC plant, was engaged in their release due to the lack of its own capacities. By the way, it is he who produces the A-series processors for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, HomePod, etc. But if TSMC has no problems with Apple, then the plant can no longer continue to work with Huawei due to tougher US sanctions.
US sanctions against Huawei
The extended sanctions take effect on September 15, and TSMC, if it does not want to be subject to US sanctions, will be obliged to end all relations with Huawei. Despite this, until September 14 inclusive, the Taiwanese have every right to produce processors for Huawei and Honor smartphones, which they are now doing. Obviously, TSMC really does not want to lose such a client, and therefore the plant management is trying to get the most out of the last days of official cooperation. Therefore, it was decided to start round-the-clock production of Kirin processors in order, firstly, to earn as much as possible, and, secondly, to supply Huawei with the maximum possible amount of components.
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Now all TSMC’s efforts are focused on the release of the Kirin 9000 processors. This is the most powerful chip in the Huawei lineup, with which the company plans to equip the flagship Huawei Mate 40, whose release should take place in the near future. True, it is still difficult to say how large a batch of “stones” will be produced by TSMC, and whether these reserves will be enough for at least a year for Huawei to equip a new smartphone with them before the next model is released. After all, the company will not be able to resume production even at the facilities of MediaTek, which the United States also threatened with sanctions.
Apparently, Huawei does not yet know how it will get out of this situation. According to the head of the consumer sector of the company, Yu Chengdong, the US sanctions will be a lesson for Huawei, because now it will know to develop its own industry first and not rely on tales of globalization and division of labor. It is sincerely a pity that Huawei’s management was so short-sighted, but now it will know exactly what to really pay attention to, even if it seems unworthy at first glance, the top manager emphasized.
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So what happens? It is certain that Huawei has lost the ability to manufacture its own chips and equip their smartphones with them. Is it forever? Not yet known. On the one hand, it is impossible to bypass the US sanctions, because even MediaTek, fearing the introduction of an economic blockade, refused to cooperate with Huawei. But, on the other hand, the Chinese have long been in talks with Qualcomm, which may agree to supply its processors for Huawei and Honor smartphones, having received a blessing from the US Department of Commerce. And during the respite, Huawei itself, perhaps, will rebuild its plant, starting to produce branded “stones” anew.