Samsung: No Business with Huawei

Following the news that some of its components are in the phones supplied by the Chinese firm, Samsung Electronics has made the argument that it never transacted with Huawei after the 2020 US restrictions. As per the reports from Taiwan source DigiTimes, Huawei managed to employ memory chips produced by Samsung, Kioxia, and even Micron, as well as SK Hynix, despite US sanctions on the Chinese tech firm in 2020. It was also stated that the latest Huawei devices used chips built in the United States, Japan, and Korea, but not by Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) or ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT).

A spokesperson at Samsung Electronics said, Samsung has been abiding by export regulations set forth by the U.S. government and does not hold business relationships outlined within the guardrails.”

Over the last three years, Huawei has used DRAM chips from Samsung and Micron, as well as Kioxia NAND Flash chips, in its smartphone and tablet devices. This means that China either stocked up on enough supplies to span the next several years or found a way to keep bringing in foreign-made chips. With SK Hynix’s 512-gigabyte NAND flagship chips discovered in a breakdown of Huawei’s newest Mate 60 Pro smartphone, doubts about the efficacy of memory chip restrictions were raised.

SK Hynix announced earlier this month that it would stop delivering its goods to Huawei in 2020 after the United States government, citing security concerns, barred businesses from supplying chips produced using US equipment and technology to Huawei without authorization. The semiconductor industry believes Huawei has a large inventory of memory chips acquired before the August 2020 prohibition, which will be used in devices produced in 2021 and 2022.

Recent discoveries of foreign-made chips in Huawei devices also suggest that YMTC and CXMT chips underperform the LPDDR5 DRAM chips in the latest Huawei handsets. CXMT is purportedly seeking to build high-bandwidth memory but is now limited to 20-nanometer manufacturing. In November 2021, Samsung Electronics succeeded in producing 14-nm LPDDR5X mobile DRAM chips utilizing extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology.

The South China Morning post on Monday states that the researchers are attempting to lay the foundation for the future of semiconductor fabrication” by employing particle accelerators to generate a unique laser source, eventually “exploring new avenues to bypass restrictions on lithography machines.” It is also stated in the story that Tsinghua University researchers have begun creating their own microchip fabrication technology known as steady-state microbounding (SSMB).

The SSMB experiment began in 2017, but it just recently became public owing to Huawei’s “breakthrough”. Tsinghua experts believe that the new method will propel China to the forefront of modern semiconductor production.

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