Huawei may soon have to forgo its own Kirin silicon in favor of chips from other manufacturers. That's because the US Department of Commerce's new licensing restrictions for international businesses using US software and technology are stifling the production of the homemade chipsets. Huawei and its subsidiary Honor are thus considering working with MediaTek and UNISOC silicon in anticipation of homegrown chip supply issues, according to reports from CNMO and Nikkei.
Huawei hasn't been able to work with Qualcomm and its Snapdragon processors since the trade ban first took effect in 2019, so it focused its efforts on its self-developed Kirin chipsets. The continued success with these apparently wasn't well-received by the US Department of Commerce, and the new regulation aims to hinder overseas manufacturers who use US software and technology from working with Huawei. Kirin chip assembler TSMC is affected by that and has stopped taking orders from Huawei, so the company might not be able to use its own hardware in the foreseeable future.
Thus, Huawei and Honor exploring a move to MediaTek and UNISOC for some of their devices makes sense. Huawei itself is allegedly already in talks with the manufacturers, both mostly big in Asian markets. Zhao Ming, Honor's president of the business department, voiced similar considerations in an interview following the launch of the Honor X10, which still equipped with a Kirin 820 chip.
MediaTek even already powers some Huawei mid-range devices, so a timely switch to more high-end chips from the company doesn't seem outlandish for either Huawei or Honor. It's still obvious that these are increasingly desperate times for Huawei, as using competitors' silicon could hamper the company's edge over other phone manufacturers like Xiaomi already relying on third-party chips.