US Tightens Export Restrictions on Huawei

In 2019, Huawei was placed on the US trade blacklist, meaning US companies needed a special permit to continue conducting business with the company. Companies like AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm were granted these licenses, with Qualcomm being allowed to supply 4G-only chipsets used in Huawei’s P and Mate series models.

During the early days of President Biden’s tenure, licenses were still being issued, however, it’s now reported that the US is seeking to expand the list of banned items to include 4G technology, Wi-Fi 6 and 7, AI-related technology, high-performance computing, and cloud computing. Reports indicate that new licenses for 4G products are already being declined.

An industry expert stated that the Commerce Department is evaluating revoking all prior licenses and even if not explicitly revoked, these licenses will eventually expire.

Biden imposed new export controls in October on equipment used for semiconductor manufacturing, with the restrictions applying to tech for nodes finer than 14nm and, in some instances, 16nm. Japan and the Netherlands have joined the US in these efforts, with a recent Bloomberg report stating that these countries will prevent their companies from exporting similar equipment to China. These controls aim to impede the growth of China’s semiconductor industry. Huawei has confirmed that its Kirin chip is no longer in production, at least for the time being, as it cannot find a foundry that doesn’t rely on US technology.

Previously renowned for its smartphones and networking equipment, Huawei has diversified into cloud computing, a sector that may soon be targeted by US sanctions. In 2021, the company’s revenue took a sharp dip as the trade restrictions took effect, with a decline of 33%. However, it has been relatively stable since then and posted revenue of $91.53 billion in December 2022.

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