According to the most recent results from research firm TechInsights, Huawei Technologies Co.’s Mate 60 Pro smartphone demonstrates “significant progress” in China’s domestic radio-frequency chip design and engineering.
The Shenzhen-based company uses Beijing OnMicro Electronics Co. for power-amplification modules and Maxscend Microelectronics Co. for RF switches in its handsets. These components are primarily supplied by US suppliers, Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Qorvo Inc., respectively. According to a TechInsights post on Monday, the architecture “is tailored for the Chinese industry” and implies that Huawei and its suppliers collaborated on the design.
Crucially, developments in chip design indicate that Huawei’s hardware can rival the best in the world even in the absence of US suppliers. A smartphone’s ability to communicate with base stations that connect it to the internet is controlled by radio-frequency chips, which are essential to any gadget.
When the Mate 60 made its debut in late August, it created a stir because of its 7-nanometer applications processor, which demonstrated that China was capable of producing sophisticated semiconductors—a capability that the US trade sanctions were intended to impede. This allowed Huawei to manufacture cutting-edge smartphones without the need for Qualcomm Inc. chips, and additional research reveals that it is also able to circumvent other key players in the US market, such as Skyworks and Qorvo.
US regulators are currently looking into Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., a Shanghai-based company that manufactured the 7-nanometer processor, which was designed by Huawei.