In November last year, the United States government imposed a ban on the sale of telecommunications equipment to Huawei Technologies in the interest of national security. As a result, the company’s consumer electronics business was shut down. However, Huawei is reportedly planning to return to the 5G smartphone industry later this year. And now a report has revealed that Huawei plans to build 5G chips using its own advances in semiconductor design tools, including chipmaking from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company (SMIC).
Despite the US ban, Huawei plans to return to the 5G phone market
Three third-party technology research firms covering China’s smartphone sector told Reuters of Huawei’s return to the 5G phone market. The companies cited industry insiders, including suppliers to Huawei, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements with customers. However, Huawei refused to comment on the matter. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company (SMIC) has also been hit. A return to the 5G smartphone market will be a huge success for Huawei. The company’s consumer business revenue peaked at 483 billion yuan (about Rs. 5,51,479 crore) in 2020, but this revenue fell by nearly 50 percent a year later.
Notably, the US restrictions that began in 2019 were also part of a rivalry with Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest handset makers until they cut off access to the chipmaking equipment needed to make their most advanced models. However, the US and European governments have identified Huawei as a threat to their national security, a charge the company denies. But since then, Huawei has only been able to sell a limited number of batches of 5G models using stock chips. Sales of last-generation 4G handsets have also stalled, according to Canalys consultancy. Huawei’s ranking fell in most of the global markets last year as sales bottomed out. However, the company managed to capture 10 percent market share in China in the first quarter.
One of the research firms said it expected Huawei to use the N+1 manufacturing process for SMICs, although with an estimated production rate of usable chips below 50 percent, shipments of 5G phones range from about 2 million, or 2 million, to 4 million, or 4 million units. will be limited to But another firm thinks the estimated shipment could reach 10 million units.
Huawei shipped 240.6 million smartphones worldwide in 2019, which was the best year for the company. The state-backed China Securities Journal reported in a report earlier this month that Huawei had raised its 2023 mobile shipment target to 40 million units from the 30 million units claimed earlier in the year, without mentioning a return to 5G phones.
The company may launch 5G versions of flagship models like the iPhone rival Huawei P60 this year. The new model is likely to be launched in early 2024. The three research firms, which spoke on condition of anonymity, said they based their predictions on information obtained from contacts in Huawei’s supply chain and recent company announcements.
However, restrictions imposed by the US cut off Huawei from Google’s Android operating system and developer services, on which most Android apps are based. For this reason, the popularity of Huawei handsets in markets outside of China is still limited
Huawei’s chip design tool
Research firms noted that Huawei announced in March that it had made breakthroughs in electronic design automation (EDA) tools for chips manufactured on 14 nanometer (nm) and higher processes. Chip design companies use EDA software to create blueprints for chips before they are mass-produced.
In addition, the research firms, based on information from their own industry sources, believe that Huawei’s EDA software could be used with SMIC’s N+1 manufacturing process to make 7-nanometer-equivalent chips, a powerful semiconductor commonly used in 5G phones. .