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    Tuesday, December 12, 2023

    Huawei Phone Shows China is Replacing US Suppliers of 5G Tech

    Huawei Technologies Co.'s Mate 60 Pro smartphone shows "significant progress" in China's domestic design and engineering of radio-frequency chips, according to the latest findings from research firm TechInsights.

    The Shenzhen-based company's handsets include RF switches from Maxscend Microelectronics Co. and power-amplification modules from Beijing OnMicro Electronics Co., components most commonly provided by US suppliers Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Qorvo Inc., respectively. The architecture "is tailored for the Chinese industry" and suggests there was design collaboration between Huawei and its suppliers, TechInsights said in a post on Monday.

    Importantly, the advances in chip design suggest Huawei's hardware is capable of competing with the world's best, even without access to US suppliers. Radio-frequency chips manage a smartphone's communication with base stations that link to the internet, a core function for any device.

    The Mate 60 caused a stir when it debuted in late August with its 7-nanometer applications processor, which showed China had the sort of advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities that US trade sanctions were trying to prevent. That meant Huawei could produce modern smartphones without Qualcomm Inc. chips, and further investigation now shows it's finding workarounds to more US industry linchpins like Skyworks and Qorvo.

    The 7-nanometer processor was designed by Huawei and produced by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., a Shanghai-based company that is now under investigation by US regulators.

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