Huawei Sanctions: 3 Possible Alternatives to Kirin Processors

Huawei can no longer make its own chipsets and various rumors talk about alternatives to the Kirin processors. Huawei could work with MediaTek, Qualcomm, or a third player. Read here about all the options on the table

Huawei sanctions

Officially, the United States sees Huawei as a threat to state security, because the country has alleged evidence that Huawei works on behalf of the Chinese government. Yet there are many critics who primarily link the trade war to the sanctions that the Trump administration exerts on Huawei, and Huawei itself also argues that the US is using that espionage argument as an excuse.

In any case, the fact is that America has extended the many sanctions and at the same time has expanded it further. Huawei can no longer do business with the Taiwanese company TSMC that builds its own Kirin processors on behalf of Huawei. TSMC is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, and Huawei is now looking for a solution. More and more is becoming known about different ways out for the Chinese company and here we discuss three possible options.huawei sanctions alternatives

1. MediaTek

Honor, Huawei’s subsidiary, has already indicated that it is currently working out a possible option with MediaTek, and new rumors coming from the Chinese ITHome confirm that Huawei is negotiating with the chip manufacturer. MediaTek announced its first series of 5G chipsets with the Density 1000 processor at the end of last year. Although MediaTek’s most powerful chipset is no real competitor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in terms of performance, MediaTek is best known for its chipsets for midrange and budget devices.MediaTek

Still, such a deal with MediaTek seems to go more than the manufacturer’s chipsets. According to the latest reports, Huawei is negotiating with the chipmaker to order American chips from TSMC via that company. Huawei could continue to build its own Kirin processors via that loophole in the trade restrictions, although the fear remains that that loophole will also be permanently locked in the future.


SMIC is the largest chip builder in China, and according to PhoneArena, the tech giant is talking to the company about a possible solution. The only problem is that SMIC is currently working hard on the possibility of producing chips according to a 7-nanometer architecture, while the next generation of high-end smartphone processors from Qualcomm and Samsung are made according to an even more advanced 5nm process. So chips that SMIC is building are outdated compared to what we’ll see in high-end processors next year, so it seems unrealistic that SMIC could come to the rescue in the near future. In the longer term, it could mean a way out and for Huawei, SMIC as a Chinese company can be a safe choice.

3. Qualcomm

This name may sound strange to you because Qualcomm is an American chip maker who still has his chips produced at TSMC, but a collaboration with Qualcomm is still more realistic than you might think. Just like TSMC, Qualcomm can also apply for a trade license in the US that gives the green light to work with Huawei, just as Microsoft has already received such a license.Qualcomm

If the American trade commission allows Qualcomm to sell its Snapdragon processors to Huawei, the American company will get a huge deal. The Trump administration has been struggling with the slogan ‘America First’ for some time now and it is exerting pressure on companies to keep their production in America, and if Huawei knocks on the door with Qualcomm, that is also a small victory for the US. However, the question is whether Huawei wants to work with an American partner. The company previously announced retaliatory measures against the US.

Which option do you think Huawei will choose? One of these three, or possibly another way out? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this article.

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