ARM now says it’ll continue supplying chip technology to Huawei
The trade war between the United States and China has brought chaos to the technology industry. Even some non-US-based companies decided to stop doing business with Huawei – ARM being one of the first. The Japanese-owned but UK-based chip manufacturer halted the licensing of its technology to Huawei right after Trump prohibited US companies from working with Huawei. The Executive Order was issued on the 15th of May, and ARM confirmed it stopped doing business with Huawei on May 22nd. Though, now it seems that ARM is reconsidering its decision.
As you probably already know, Huawei uses Kirin chipsets, developed by its fully-owned subsidiary HiSilicon, for its devices. While Huawei is responsible for the specific design of the system-on-chip, ARM creates the architecture that Huawei is licensing. It goes without saying that ARM’s hesitation to supply chip technology to Huawei would drastically affect the company’s future SoC design. All of the latest Huawei SoCs, including the Kirin 990 5G chip, is based on the ARM architecture. Due to the fact that ARM also operates from a few offices located in the US, ARM initially halted its business with Huawei to evaluate whether its chip designs included enough “US-origin technology” to qualify under the trade ban.
After months of confusion, it looks like ARM’s legal team has finally decided that the company’s business relationship with Huawei will not violate the US trade ban. In a comment sent to Reuters, an ARM spokeswoman confirmed that “ARM’s v8 and v9 are UK-origin technologies,” later also saying the company will continue developing for Huawei. This makes the manufacturing and production process for Huawei a lot easier, as they are striving to become the number 1 smartphone manufacturer in the world. You can read our previous write-up about ARM’s decision to get an idea about the complicated situation.