The US might be singling out Huawei in its spat with China but the world’s second-biggest phone maker isn’t the only one that is being affected by it. In light of the US Commerce Department’s new trade rules, companies that export products or provide services to Huawei are now uncertain whether they will be able to keep the Chinese manufacturer as a lucrative customer. One of the biggest of those is semiconductor maker TSMC, though the Taiwan-based foundry seems not to be that worried even if it loses Huawei.
TSMC is perhaps best known for providing foundry services to the likes of Apple, Broadcom, and even Qualcomm, fabricating the chips that these companies then use for smartphones and other devices. One of its customers also happens to include HiSilicon, Huawei’s subsidiary that makes the Kirin processors that powers many of Huawei’s smartphones, especially the high-end P and Mate series.
Although based in Taiwan, the US government’s new export rules could still impact TSMC’s business, especially as it tries to set up a production plant on US soil. Those rules practically bar companies from selling semiconductors made with US products or technologies to Huawei or its affiliates, including HiSilicon. Although a major customer, TSMC chair Mark Liu seems confident his company would be able to recover from that potential loss.
Liu says that it would be able to quickly fill in gaps in orders should it really lose HiSilicon. How quickly it will be able to do that, he doesn’t say. It does, however, suggest Huawei’s impact on TSMC won’t be as big as some believe it would be.
That said, Liu is still hoping they won’t lose a big customer and that TSMC is still studying how the rules will affect the company. TSMC, however, may have the luxury to write off the loss considering its other customers but smaller companies supplying parts and services to Huawei may not be so lucky.