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HUAWEI’s Ambitious Bid for Chip Self-Sufficiency: A Strategic Move with State Support

HUAWEI’s Ambitious Bid for Chip Self-Sufficiency: A Strategic Move with State Support

by Aiman MaulanaDecember 5, 2023
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In a bid to achieve self-sufficiency in chip manufacturing, HUAWEI is actively working on establishing a comprehensive chip network, reportedly with the support of the Chinese state. According to Bloomberg News, a city government investment fund in Shenzhen has been established explicitly to position HUAWEI at the center of a vast network involving optical specialists, chip equipment developers, and chemical manufacturers.

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This strategic decision to make HUAWEI the linchpin of this expansive network reportedly came with a direct order from the top echelons of the Chinese government. Two sources revealed that the government even urged the company to expedite the launch of the Mate 60 smartphone in response to the visit of US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to China.

The HUAWEI Mate 60 boasts a China-made 7nm chipset, the Kirin 9000S. Despite inquiries, HUAWEI representatives declined to comment on the SoC. Insiders suggest that the 7nm chipset, manufactured by SMIC, indicates that China is approximately five years behind the most advanced global technology.

Amid export controls imposed by the United States aimed at keeping China technologically behind, HUAWEI and the entire chip industry in China have been targeted. The concern revolves around the fear that US technology acquired by Chinese manufacturers, like the Kirin 9000S chipset, could be used in applications such as AI-controlled drones, supercomputers for code-breaking, and surveillance.

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The Shenzhen Major Industry Investment Group, established in 2019 with state funding, was given explicit directives to support China’s chip initiatives. The group has invested in about a dozen companies in the chip supply chain. One such company is SiCarrier, a chipmaking tool company that has formed a “close symbiotic relationship” with HUAWEI, exchanging talent and collaborating on various projects.

SiCarrier, which produces components for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, has engineers working under HUAWEI’s project, while HUAWEI has transferred a dozen patents to SiCarrier, including technologies for electronic machines and data center designs. Another key player is Zetop Technologies, a company in which the company is a major shareholder, specializing in optical machines that layer transistors on a silicon wafer.

HUAWEI's Ambitious Bid for Chip Self-Sufficiency: A Strategic Move with State Support 35

Despite challenges such as ASML Holding, a Dutch company holding a near-monopoly on lithography machine sales, not selling its products to Chinese companies, HUAWEI and its partners have managed to attract former ASML employees to contribute to chipmaking machine development.

Analysts suggest that China’s efforts extend beyond establishing funds and constructing chip fabrication facilities. The state provides support in terms of land, tax incentives, and even constructs apartment buildings for employee campuses. China’s goal is not complete self-sufficiency; rather, it focuses on creating domestic alternatives in crucial areas where the US and its allies can potentially disrupt supplies, such as lithography, wafer production, and electronic design information. As HUAWEI continues its ambitious journey, the global tech landscape is poised for potential transformations.


Pokdepinion: If all goes well, it could lead to them being self-sufficient, even if that’s not their ultimate goal. I have high hopes for them and I can’t wait to see what happens next. They’ve

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)