Qualcomm will be allowed to sell 4G mobile chips to Huawei, providing the tech company an exemption from the current US-China trade restrictions.
As reported by Reuters, the company received a license from the US government on Friday that allowed it to go ahead with the sales. A spokesperson told the website, “We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products”, adding that the 4G products were mobile-related.
The Trump administration begun clamping down on sales to Huawei in May 2019. In May 2020, it said that it would “strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain U.S. software and technology”.
In August 2020, the US government made an amendment that “further restricts Huawei from obtaining foreign made chips developed or produced from U.S. software or technology to the same degree as comparable U.S. chips”. This prompted the Semiconductor Industry Association to issue a statement saying that the move would significantly disrupt the US’ semiconductor industry.
That same month, Qualcomm lobbied the US government to allow it to sell chips to Huawei. News that the company had obtained its license to do so first came last week via a Chinese report, according to GSMArena.
While this is no doubt good news for Huawei, the Financial Times reported early this month that the company had begun working on plans for a Shanghai-based chip-making plant, run by Shanghai IC R&D Center as a partner, that would not make use of US technology.
However, those plans won’t result in Huawei making its own 5nm chips sans outside technology any time soon. According to the Financial Times' report, the company will start off with 45nm chips before moving to 28nm chips in 2021. It’ll then aim to produce 20nm chips by late 2022.