Huawei just recently announced its Mate 40 series and, perhaps to no one’s surprise, it was already rated with high scores on DxOMark’s photography and new display benchmarks. While its new flagships may be able to keep the company afloat for a while, there is still a lot of doubt whether it can survive for long if it can’t get its hands on components its needs to make phones and networking equipment. It might soon be able to breathe just a little easier if tips about approved export licenses are true.
The US Commerce Department’s rules forbid US companies from selling certain products and technologies to Huawei and its subsidiaries, at least not without seeking a license from the government first. While the default attitude is to deny license applications, reports suggest that things may not be so strict after all. In fact, there might be a slight caveat to the otherwise damning restrictions that the US is imposing.
Reuters reports that Samsung Display, which provides panels for Samsung Electronics and Apple, have reportedly received permission to also sell specific screens to Huawei. The catch is that neither mention which screens have been allowed and there is still some uncertainty whether Samsung’s display-making business will be able to sell OLED panels that Huawei needs for its phones as other parts of that supply chain will still need to get their own licenses from the US.
Financial Times, however, gives a glimpse of hope for Huawei. Both Sony and OmniVision have allegedly also been granted a license to supply Huawei with CMOS imaging sensors for use on its smartphones. The theory is that the Commerce Department is more lenient about products and components that will not be used directly for Huawei’s 5G business.
If true, this could give Huawei a much-needed reprieve and a stay of its complete downfall. Even if it still deals a fatal blow to its once-booming 5G business, being able to make its popular smartphones could help keep it in business a bit longer until the political and legal landscape in the US changes.