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Post: Chinese-made 7nm chips in Huawei phone raise questions over US export ban



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The US government has reportedly opened a probe into Chinese chips being used in  Huawei’s latest 5G-enabled smartphone, a move that has raised questions around the effectiveness of President Joe Biden’s recent executive orders that were supposed to have tightened export controls on such technology.

The Huawei Mate Pro 60 contains Kirin 9000s chips — 7 nanometer (nm) chips that have been made in China by the partly state-owned Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), according to an analysis published by TechInsights, a semiconductor research and analysis organization.

The US has sought to restrict the availability of 7nm chips in China by imposing export restrictions, but the inclusion of the chip in the phone suggests that China’s domestic chip making efforts may be more advanced than previously thought.

“Evidence of SMIC 7nm (N+2)… represents a made-in-China design and manufacturing milestone for the most advanced Chinese foundry,” TechInsights wrote in a blog post.

SMIC was barred by the US from obtaining the machines necessary for the production of 7nm chips in late 2020 and to date, the most advanced chip SMIC had been known to manufacture was a larger-scale 14nm semiconductor.

The Commerce Department has yet to respond to a request for comment but Bloomberg has reported that the department has launched an investigation in light of the findings.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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