Did Huawei break the US embargo by designing the Mate 60 Pro? The new smartphone and especially its Kirin chip raise new suspicions on the United States side.
From China, the Huawei Mate 60 Pro impresses. Despite a heavy American embargo which prevents its manufacturer from freely sourcing components and technologies, the smartphone is equipped with a Kirin 5G 9000S chip which rocks (and signs the return of 5G compatibility) and can use to its full potential its satellite connection. The device thus testifies to Huawei’s great adaptability in the face of United States sanctions.
And in Washington, this new smartphone has gone unnoticed. Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on China, is putting pressure on President Joe Biden and his administration to encourage him to toughen sanctions against the Chinese company. According to this Republican legislator – described as influential by the press agency Reuters — the chip of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro “ likely could not have been produced without American technology and therefore SMIC may have violated the Commerce Department’s Foreign Direct Product Rule “.
Huawei, SMIC and American technologies
To understand this comment, you need to know two things. First of all, the acronym SMIC designates the first Chinese manufacturer of semiconductors: Semiconductor International Manufacturing Corp. Then the Foreign Direct Product Rule mentioned by Mike Gallagher is one of the many sanctions taken against Huawei. This directive effectively prohibits all companies around the world from selling equipment to Huawei if it has been designed using American technologies.
Thus, Mike Gallagher accuses SMIC of having fraudulently used American technology to produce the Kirin chip of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro. He therefore calls on President Biden and the Commerce Department to take good care of the grain by ending all technology exports to Huawei and SMIC.
Reuters recalls, however, an important detail: suppliers of Huawei and SMIC have obtained special licenses – worth several billion dollars in total – to be able to derogate from the rule and sell certain American technologies to the two Chinese companies despite the embargo. ” Around 90% of licenses concerned sales to SMIC “, we read in the article of the press agency.
An embargo that has lasted since 2019
Finally, remember that the United States embargo against Huawei dates back to 2019 and has gradually tightened over the years. Intelligence services across the Atlantic accuse the Chinese giant of exploiting its telecom infrastructure to carry out espionage operations on behalf of Beijing. These accusations have fueled a stormy geopolitical context between the two superpowers.
In response, Huawei seems to be stepping up its efforts to stay afloat and even regain its aura of 2019. The firm is believed to have invested up to $30 billion in a network of companies to circumvent the embargo.