Trump admin revokes Intel’s license to supply chips to Huawei
The Trump administration is enacting stricter policies that will make it even harder for Huawei to do business with U.S.-based companies.
According to Reuters, the Trump administration has notified suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to Huawei. The Trump administration also revealed intentions to reject dozens of other applications to supply the Chinese company.
Back in 2019, the U.S. Commerce Department placed Huawei and its subsidiaries on the “Entity List,” preventing many U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese company. One of the companies that was affected by this decision was chipmaker Intel, though in late September the Commerce Department gave Intel a license to supply some products to Huawei. Now, however, that license has been revoked.
Huawei still makes laptop PCs—just a few days ago the company announced the MateBook X Pro 2021 and MateBook 13/14 2021—so the latest restriction could potentially harm the company’s ability to make new PCs. Before today, the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration already made it difficult for Huawei to do business. The latest development makes Huawei’s future more uncertain than ever.
Earlier restrictions effectively blocked most chipmakers from supplying to Huawei, preventing the company from having its ARM-based SoC designs fabricated by contract chipmakers like TSMC. As a result, the Kirin 9000 found in the Huawei Mate 40 series is expected to be the company’s last self-designed high-end Kirin silicon, and the company will have to turn to 4G chipsets from competitors like Qualcomm or hope that China’s semiconductor manufacturing industry can step up.
Over the past several months, Huawei has taken steps to lessen its reliance on U.S.-based companies. In November, the company announced it was selling Honor, a smartphone brand under the Huawei Consumer Business Group, to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers. The infusion of cash could allow the company to become fully independent.
Today’s news comes just days before President Trump is set to end his term, with President-elect Joe Biden set to takeover. When Trump is no longer President, it remains to be seen whether this and other restrictions will be lifted.