The last couple of weeks had been rough for Chinese behemoth Huawei, all thanks to the US government directing the American companies to snap trade relations with Chinese telecom companies in the pretext of national security. Trouble started with Google blocking Huawei from Android updates, followed by multiple American hardware companies and regulatory bodies (like WiFi Alliance) joining in the fray. In the latest update, it’s the IEEE that has decided to join the bandwagon.
The Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, the world-famous publication body that reviews researches in technical fields like nuclear technology, computer science, and aerospace has now restricted Huawei employees from reviewing and editing the current and future technical reports. Although the Chinese giant is permitted to attend the international conferences, participate in public discussions, view and submit new technology proposals.
Rumors suggest that the U.S. could blacklist some other companies (mainly Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., etc.). In response to the American crackdown on Chinese brands, the government of China is preparing its own blacklist targeting the US-based firms.
In a statement to Bloomberg, one of the Chinese commerce ministry spokespersons announced that the government is likely to ban companies like Alphabet Inc, Qualcomm, and Apple that pose a potential threat to their national security. They’ll also be targeting non-American partners like ARM, Panasonic, and Toshiba that had walked out on Huawei following the court order.
While this may affect the quarterly turnover of bigger American brands, since they get a great share of profit from the Chinese market, the embargo comes as a major blow to the U.S. manufacturing industry. China, which is that largest miner (70%) and supplier of raw materials (35%) for manufacturing automobiles, electronics and defense equipment, has considered restricting the export of minerals and spare parts to the USA.
Caught amidst the seemingly never-ending tussle, Huawei is silently busy making 5G modems and chipsets, without the backing of its long-term allies. Despite the American chip-manufacturing companies Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems suspending the sales of its intellectual property, it’ll take some time for Huawei to experience the sting, as they’d already finalized the designs of their upcoming chipsets Kirin 990 and Kirin 985.
Tech experts predicted that since Huawei has HiSilicon, its own SoC manufacturing division, designing silicon chips would be easier. However, the process turned out to be difficult after the EDA tool provider stopped providing updates for the chipsets. Nonetheless, since the TSMC had already started the bulk production of Kirin 985 and Kirin 990, these tools can continue to fuel Chinese handsets, giving the brand some breathing room.
The problem will arise in the manufacturing of the future chipsets which would require the latest software. In the light of the recent events, Huawei could either try to grab a pirated version of the updated software or rely on smaller EDTA tool providers to cover its requirements.
For now, we’ll have to wait and watch if Huawei marches forward with its custom Silicon chips and OS, or the US and China come to a peaceful resolution, ending its dilemma.