Huawei seems determined to overcome the American embargo that was supposed to bring it down since 2019. In addition to the Mate 60 Pro, the brand’s first smartphone to benefit from 5G in ages, the Chinese giant is increasing the signs of a comeback.
Huawei about to rise again to annoy the United States? It is too much to say, but the Chinese company is multiplying the signs betraying a desire to come back in force in order to circumvent the severe American embargo which has been imposed on it for more than four years. Things seemed to be going at their worst until recently, but it seems more and more obvious that the group is preparing a response.
Huawei’s descent into hell
The embargo in question was applied in 2019 after American intelligence services accused the Chinese giant of using its telecoms infrastructure – notably 5G – to carry out espionage operations on behalf of Beijing. Since then, American companies can no longer work with Huawei without obtaining a special license. It is also technically impossible for any firm in the world to supply the Chinese manufacturer with components that required American technologies to be designed.
Result: Huawei smartphones are quickly losing the right to use Google services and the Play Store and the supply has been very complex, particularly for 5G chips. Thus, Huawei admitted in 2022 that it was switching to “ survival » while the group greatly reduced its size outside China, particularly in Europe.
So things went from bad to worse for Huawei. Yes, but now, 2023 could be the start of a major counter-offensive.
Mate 60 Pro: the game-changing smartphone?
At the start of the year, the company’s founder boasted of having managed to replace “13,000 components” in its supply lines to mitigate the effects of the US embargo. During summer, Bloombergbluntly asserts that Huawei is building a secret network of factories to circumvent US sanctions.
Then comes the officialization of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro. A very high-end model launched in China with a Kirin 9000S chip engraved in 7 nm and manufactured by SMIC (Semiconductor International Manufacturing Corp). This one attracts all eyes since it marks the great return of 5G compatibility of the brand’s smartphones. A symbolic victory for Huawei which displays impressive resilience in the face of the heavy restrictions imposed on it by the American embargo.
Huawei’s response does not stop there. According to Chinese media IT Timesrelayed by the press agency Reuters, Huawei should follow up with a mid-range smartphone also 5G compatible. Expected to integrate the Nova range, the new product should see the light of day in China in October or November.
Another sign of the circumvention of the embargo that Huawei is operating (successfully?): its subsidiary HiSilicon, specialized in the manufacturing of chips, would have shipped new chips intended for surveillance cameras according to sources ofReuters. One of them points out that these components are simpler to manufacture than smartphone SoCs while explaining, however, that a return of HiSilcon would shake up the market.
The United States is not giving up either
Opposite, the United States is closely monitoring this new lease of life from Huawei. The Mate 60 Pro is already attracting a lot of suspicion across the Atlantic and the White House has indicated that it will inquire more closely to learn more about the “character and composition» from the phone. The famous Kirin 9000S SoC has already attracted more harsh comments from Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on China. He believes that this chip “probably could not have been produced without American technology“.
In other words, the American authorities are not about to give up even though they admit “have no proof that they [Huawei ; ndlr] can make seven-nanometer chips at high speeds ladder“.
The 7 nm Kirin 9000S chip is nevertheless beautiful and well integrated into the Huawei Mate 60 Pro as shown in a video teardown of the smartphone.
Remember that the American embargo against Huawei must be analyzed in its more global context of intense geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China. By attacking Huawei, Washington also wants to weaken Beijing.
China has in turn reinforced the ban on Apple iPhones among its officials while supporting the efforts of its champion Huawei to overcome US sanctions. This matter seems far from over.