Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in plastic case

  • Qualcomm is reportedly lobbying the US government to let it sell chips to Huawei.
  • The chips are meant to be used in Huawei’s 5G phones.
  • Qualcomm says MediaTek and Samsung stand to benefit if the US doesn’t act.

The US trade ban against Huawei has dramatically affected the manufacturer’s chipset supply, with chipmaker TSMC barred from producing the manufacturer’s own HiSilicon Kirin processors. This action has reportedly resulted in Huawei stating that the upcoming Mate 40 series flagships would be the last with in-house Kirin processors. This would mean that the Chinese brand needs to source high-end chipsets from another company instead.

Now, it has emerged that Qualcomm is lobbying the US government to let it sell chips to Huawei that would go into the Chinese brand’s 5G phones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to a presentation viewed by the outlet, Qualcomm says the US trade ban against Huawei won’t stop it from obtaining necessary parts for its 5G phones. This would therefore mean that the US chipmaker loses out on as much as $8 billion a year that would go to its foreign rivals instead, it reportedly claimed.

“If Qualcomm is subject to export licensing, but its foreign competitors are not, US government policy will cause a rapid shift in 5G chipset market share in China and beyond,” the San Diego company was quoted as saying.

Read: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 vs Kirin 990 vs Exynos 990

So just who are these foreign competitors then? Well, the US chipmaker says MediaTek and Samsung stand to benefit from the ban, according to the Wall Street Journal.  In fact, several reports note that Huawei is turning to MediaTek in a big way in 2020.

A successful deal between Huawei and Qualcomm wouldn’t be the first time Qualcomm supplied the Chinese brand though. Prior to the US trade ban, Huawei made extensive use of the US firm’s wares in its budget phones. However, a successful deal for flagship silicon would seemingly be a first for the two firms, as Huawei has used Kirin-branded SoCs since 2013’s Ascend P6 at the very least.

There’s no guarantee of a deal for Qualcomm’s flagship or 5G silicon if the US government gives it a green light though. The Chinese brand has made a concerted effort to source as many components as possible from non-US firms, although it has resumed dealing with Qualcomm for some components and a patent agreement.

In any event, it’s clear that the US trade ban against Huawei could backfire against at least one US firm rather than help it.

Next: Can Huawei survive without its custom Kirin chips?

Comments
Read comments