China’s Huawei poised to overcome US ban by returning 5G phones: research firm

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SHENZHEN: China’s Huawei plans to return to the 5G smartphone industry by the end of this year, with a U.S. ban devastating its home appliance business, according to a research firm. It is said that it suggests a revival in response to this.

Three third-party technology research firms in China’s smartphone sector told Reuters that in addition to manufacturing chips from Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC), Huawei also uses its own semiconductor design tools. It should be able to use progress to source 5G chips domestically, he said.

The two companies spoke on condition of anonymity due to confidentiality agreements with customers, citing industry insiders including Huawei suppliers.

Huawei declined to comment. SMIC did not respond to a request for comment.

A return to the 5G mobile market would represent a victory for the company, which has claimed to be in “survival” mode for almost three years. Huawei’s consumer business revenue peaked at 483 billion yuan ($67 billion) in 2020, but plunged nearly 50% a year later.

The Shenzhen-based tech giant once competed with Apple and Samsung to be the world’s largest handset maker, but a series of U.S. restrictions that began in 2019 have cut the chip-making tools essential to making cutting-edge models. access has been blocked.

U.S. and European governments have classified Huawei as a security risk, an allegation the company denies. Since then, Huawei has only sold limited batches of his 5G models, using chips it stockpiled.

Huawei slipped out of most of the world’s rankings last year when sales of its previous-generation 4G handsets stalled, but it still had a 10% market share in China in the first quarter, according to consultancy Canalys. said to have risen to

5G predictions

One research firm expects Huawei to use SMIC’s N+1 manufacturing process, but 5G shipments are expected to be around 2 million to 2 million, as the expected yield rate of usable chips is below 50%. He said it would be limited to 4 million. Another company estimated that shipments could reach 10 million units, but did not give details.

According to Canalys, Huawei shipped 240.6 million smartphones worldwide at its peak in 2019, after which it sold Honor units, which accounted for nearly a fifth of its shipments in the same year.

The government-run China Securities Journal reported earlier this month that Huawei had raised its 2023 mobile shipment target to 40 million from 30 million at the beginning of the year, without mentioning a return to 5G handsets.

Huawei could produce 5G versions of flagship models like the iPhone rival P60 this year, with a new product launch likely in early 2024, three research firms said. He added that such predictions are based on information obtained through checks from Huawei’s supply chain and contacts. Recent company announcements.

But U.S. regulations cut Huawei from Google’s Android operating system and bundle of developer services that underpin most Android apps, limiting the appeal of Huawei devices outside of China.

chip design tool

Research firms noted that Huawei announced in March that it had made breakthroughs in electronic design automation (EDA) tools for chips made with 14-nanometer (nm) technology and beyond.

Chip design companies use EDA software to create blueprints for chips before they are mass-produced in factories.

Huawei’s EDA software could be used in SMIC’s N+1 manufacturing process to produce 7nm-equivalent chips, a powerful semiconductor typically used in 5G mobile phones, the research firm said, citing its own industry sources. I think there is a gender.

The Washington government has banned SMIC from acquiring an advanced chip-making tool called EUV equipment from Dutch company ASML, which is essential for the manufacturing process of 7nm chips.

However, some analysts have found signs that SMIC is still succeeding in producing 7nm chips by tweaking simpler DUV machines that are freely available from ASML.

A second research firm said it noticed Huawei had asked SMIC to produce sub-14nm chip components for its 5G products this year.

Doug Fuller, a chip researcher at the Copenhagen Business School, said an expected yield of less than 50% means 5G chips will be “expensive.”

“If Huawei wanted to keep costs down, they could do that, but I don’t think such a chip would be competitively priced,” Fuller said.

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