Huawei Is Running Out of Chips for Flagship Smartphones Due to US Economic Sanctions

The largest smartphone vendor in the world, Huawei, may no longer produce flagship smartphones with Kirin processors because of biting economic sanctions from the United States government. As of September, the Chinese company may stop manufacturing phones with Kirin chipsets since its availability from United States manufacturers will cease.

CEO of Huawei’s consumer business unit, Richard Yu, noted that the company’s upcoming Mate 40 smartphone which will be released next month may be the last flagship device with a Kirin chipset.

“Unfortunately, in the second round of U.S. sanctions, our chip producers only accepted orders until May 15. Production will close on September 15,” Yu said at a conference on August 7th. “This year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips. From September 15 onward, our flagship Kirin processors cannot be produced. Our AI-powered chips also cannot be processed. This is a huge loss for us.”

US processor chip manufacturers were stopped from selling chipsets to Huawei after the Trump administration accused the Chinese company of espionage through backdoors in its network infrastructure. The government alleged that Huawei is spying for China but the company staunchly denies this, yet the Trump administration blacklisted Huawei and 114 of its affiliates so that US companies are barred from doing business with them.

To this end, Google has also stopped doing business with Huawei and the phone company can no longer use the Android OS as well as all Google apps in its phones. The Trump government cites the need to protect the country from international espionage and critical national security threats as reasons for the ban. And if any US company wants to do business with Huawei and its banned affiliates, they must obtain express approval from the government before this can be done.

It is not only US companies that are banned from working with Huawei without government endorsement, foreign companies which rely on US software and technology are also stopped from transacting any business with the embattled Chinese company. However, the Wall Street Journal reported that Qualcomm requested to manufacture chips that Huawei could use for its 5G phones, but the government is yet to respond to this.

In spite of the US ban, Huawei still beat Samsung as the biggest smartphone vendor in the world by the volumes of devices sold between April to June. The Kirin processors are produced by HiSilicon and are only used in Huawei phones.