Intel world headquarters

Intel gets green light to continue working with Huawei

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Intel has received licenses from US authorities to continue shipping certain products to Huawei, according to a report by Reuters.

In May 2019, US President Donald Trump added Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies to the US 'Entity List', effectively preventing US companies from working with Huawei unless they received a license to do so from the government. Trump accused Huawei of potentially acting as a surveillance tool for the Chinese government - allegations which Huawei has consistently denied.

This blacklisting, which has been followed up with tightening of loopholes designed to prevent Huawei from accessing any technology with US origins, has had a severe impact on Huawei’s consumer and enterprise businesses. The company has been forced to ship luxurious smartphones without Google apps and using the open-source version of Android; this disruption to its supply chain was cited as a major reason for shutting Huawei out of the UK’s 5G rollout (in addition to security and ethical concerns, as well as diplomatic pressure from the US).

Now, an Intel spokesperson has confirmed that the company has received authorisation from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei. This followed a report from the state-owned China Securities Journal, which said that Intel had received permission to work with Huawei.

This is the first instance of a major US company receiving permission to work with Huawei.

However, China’s largest chip foundry SMIC recently requested permission to continue working with Huawei (SMIC uses equipment with US origins to fabricate chips). South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek Inc have also applied to the US government for permission to supply Huawei. A person familiar with the matter said that non-US firms were unlikely to receive approval.

In order to counter Trump’s aggressive action to cut off silicon supplies from Huawei and several other Chinese tech giants, the Chinese government is reportedly planning a vast (reportedly $1.4tn) investment in chipmaking technology in its next five-year plan in order to gain a technological edge over its rival. This effort will focus on third-generation semiconductors, which use materials with wide bandgaps, such as gallium nitride and silicon carbide.

The priority China will place on growing its domestic semiconductor industry will be comparable to the vast effort placed previously on building up its nuclear capacity, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

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