Chinese news outlet Caixin is reporting that UK-based chip designer ARM confirmed on Wednesday it will continue to license its chip design architecture to Chinese tech giant Huawei and the company’s chip unit HiSilicon Technologies despite a US trade ban. Caixin also reported that American semiconductor leader Qualcomm is continuing to sell products to Huawei.
Speaking in Shenzhen on Wednesday, the President of ARM’s IP Products Group Rene Haas said ARM and Huawei/HiSilicon are long-term partners, and that ARM will continue licensing its chip design architecture to Huawei and HiSilicon despite US government restrictions announced in May on US companies trading with Huawei. Hass told Caixin the patents of its major chip design architectures were developed from technologies originating in the UK, and therefore the US ban will not affect ARM’s business with Huawei or HiSilicon.
Caixin also disclosed that Qualcomm has resumed shipments to Huawei, quoting remarks made by Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf on Monday in a media briefing at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, California: “Every company, of course, has its restrictions as a result of the… regulations, but we have been able to resume shipments (to Huawei), and we will… try to figure out how to continue that in the future.”
A Qualcomm spokesperson told Caixin the company does not believe the US trade ban applies to the products it has shipped, and that Qualcomm has applied for licenses to make additional long-term sales to Huawei, although “we understand that process may take some time.”
In July, San Jose-based programmable chip manufacturer Xilinx said it had resumed some sales to Huawei.
ARM’s chip-designing architecture is essential for Huawei as it is used in HiSilicon chipsets such as the Kirin series that power many Huawei smartphones and mobile devices. The US ban threatened business ties between the industry leaders and left Huawei with few alternative suppliers.
Last week Huawei launched its new Mate 30 series smartphone with features such as gesture control, an eye-based auto-rotate function, and a novel facial recognition powered “AI Private View” mode. These smart features are powered by HiSilicon’s latest generation smartphone SoC, the Kirin 990 5G. As Synced previously reported, the 7 nm chip outperforms Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 by 4.7 times in AI performance, and scored 52403 on the AI Benchmark test, ahead of both the Unisoc Tiger T710 and Snapdragon 855 Plus.
Journalist: Fangyu Cai | Editor: Michael Sarazen