[News] Huawei Shifts Focus, Prioritizing Production of AI Chips over Mate 60 Series

2024-02-06 Semiconductors editor

Industry sources cited by Reuters have revealed that Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, is slowing down the production of its high-end Mate 60 series smartphone due to surging demand in the AI chip market and production constraints. Instead, the company has decided to prioritize the production of AI chips from its Ascend series, diverging from the Kirin chips used in the Mate 60 series.

According to a report by Reuters on January 5th, Huawei is utilizing a plant to simultaneously produce chips from the Ascend series and the Kirin series. The current plan is to prioritize the production of Ascend chips over Kirin chips, although the exact starting date for this arrangement has not been disclosed.

On the other hand, the production volume of Huawei’s Mate 60 series, launched in August last year, has been hampered by low chip yields. Reportedly, Huawei is actively working to improve chip yields, and it is hoped that the mentioned production adjustment will be a short-term measure.

It’s worth noting that many Huawei products have recently been affected by production bottlenecks. The computation components for Huawei’s assisted driving system have encountered production issues due to shortages of components.

This has led to delays in the delivery of flagship models from Changan Automobile, Chery Automobile, and Seres. Changan Automobile and Chery Automobile have already filed complaints and are currently in negotiations with Huawei.

Reports have indicated that since 2019, the U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Huawei, citing national security concerns, thereby cutting off Huawei’s access to advanced chip manufacturing equipment and technology and weakening its smartphone division. In response, Huawei denies posing any security risks and is actively working to rebuild its business.

In addition, Bloomberg previously reported that the Chinese government has also been directly investing to assist Huawei in building its chip supply chain since 2019, creating an exclusive supply chain for Huawei in response to the tighten restrictions.

In October 2023, the U.S. further strengthened restrictions on the export of advanced chips and chip manufacturing equipment to China, building upon previous limitations. This move forced Chinese customers to turn to domestic alternatives. Huawei’s Ascend 910B chip is considered the most competitive non-NVIDIA chip available in the Chinese market.

Huawei has maintained a low profile regarding its chip manufacturing capabilities and objectives. There is limited public information about its progress or how it successfully produces advanced chips.

In August 2023, during U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to China, Huawei launched the Mate 60 series, garnering significant market attention.

(Photo credit: Huawei)

Please note that this article cites information from Reuters.