The anticipated Huawei Mate 40 smartphone will be the last model to feature the maker’s own high-end Kirin processor, the company has confirmed, something that has resulted from the Trump administration’s ban on trade with the Chinese phone maker. As a result of that ban, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) ended its business with Huawei and, as a result, the HiSilicon subsidiary behind its Kirin chips.
If you think back to May 2019, you’ll likely remember the then-big news that Trump had signed an executive order against the Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE, a process that has had sprawling effects, the most recent being Huawei’s inability to continue forward with the Kirin processor. Put simply, the company focused on chip design but not its production, making it reliant on other companies.
Under the aforementioned decision in May 2019 that placed Huawei on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, US component suppliers will no longer be able to sell their goods to Huawei unless they first get government approval to do so starting September 15. Because TSMC gets some of its equipment from US suppliers, it made the decision to wrap up any chip production orders from Huawei, but to no longer supply Huawei going forward.
During the 2020 Summit of the China Information Technology Association, Huawei’s Consumer Business CEO Yi Chengdong revealed that the Mate 40 will be the last smartphone packing a Kirin chip. It turns out that the high-end Kirin processors are already ‘out of print’ with no expected production in the future.
Because the subsidiary HiSilicon lacks the means to manufacture the Kirin chips that it designs, Huawei was dependent on TSMC as part of its pipeline. Now that TSMC has removed itself from the equation, Huawei has found itself in a difficult position, and it has not yet revealed how it plans to move forward from here.