Enlarge /. The Huawei P40 Pro.
Huawei continues to use components from US companies for its latest flagship smartphone, as the Financial Times noted, although the US has virtually blacklisted the Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer.
On Thursday, Huawei launched its P40 smartphone – one of the first flagship devices that the company has launched since the introduction of sanctions in Washington last May that banned US companies from selling to the Chinese group, unless this has been expressly approved.
After the sanctions, Huawei, which accused the Trump administration of spying on Beijing, had to find ways to replace its U.S. components. It is crucial that Google can no longer offer the Chinese company its Android platform for mobile services.
For comparison, the FT disassembled a Huawei P40 Pro phone and last year's P30, which was published shortly before the US sanctions. Dismantling was done by XYZone, a Shenzhen-based company that disassembled smartphones and identified the suppliers of their components.
Phone manufacturers sometimes use different components in different batches of the same smartphone, and the FT breakdown was modeled using the earliest available copy of the P40.
The biggest surprise was that some parts of U.S. companies still ended up in the latest Huawei smartphone, even though the U.S. was almost prohibiting their companies from selling to the Chinese technology company.
The P40's high-frequency front-end modules were manufactured by Qualcomm, Skyworks, and Qorvo, three U.S. chipmakers, according to XYZones teardown analysis. RF front-end modules are important parts of the phone that are connected to the antennas and are required to make calls and connect to the Internet.
The Qualcomm component is covered by a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, according to a person familiar with the company. Qorvo and Skyworks did not respond to requests for comments.
“Huawei has demonstrated its resilience by replacing many U.S. components in a single cycle for the design of phones. The continued use of Qorvo and Skyworks chips also shows that it is too difficult to overcome US technology dependency, ”said Dan Wang, technology analyst at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics.
RF front-end modules are a form of analog chip, a sector in which the United States still dominates, said Wang. "As the US debates debate about tightening sanctions against Huawei, the company's resilience will be tested more stringently next year," he added.
Last year's RF front-end modules in the P30 also came from Qualcomm, Skyworks and Qorvo, whose share prices fell due to U.S. sanctions against Huawei.
The Entity List designation means that US companies must apply for a license to export technologies originating in the United States to Huawei. The United States government has granted its companies a “temporary general license” that allows them to sell to Huawei to service existing products. This helps customers like telecommunications providers who may need to replace parts of their wireless devices.
However, the general license does not apply to sales for the purpose of manufacturing new products such as the P40 smartphone. To do this, companies have to apply for individual licenses, and the Ministry of Commerce has not indicated which one they granted.
A spokesman for Huawei said the company "always adhered to all export control regulations in various countries, including the United States," and "all product materials are obtained legally from our global partners and we insist on working with our partners to provide them." Consumers with high quality products and services. "
Other notable changes from the previous year are the possible disappearance of the US chipmaker Micron from the P40 Pro – or at least from the batch that the FT received. Micron made the storage devices called NAND flash memory chips for some batches of last year's P30 smartphone, and Samsung from South Korea made the same chips for other batches. The FT copy of this year's P40 Pro appears to contain only Samsung NAND flash memory chips.
Both the P30 and P40 consist largely of components manufactured and assembled by Chinese, South Korean, and Taiwanese companies, with only a small portion of the total value of the components coming from U.S. companies.
Nevertheless, US companies have had strategic bottlenecks in Huawei phones in the past, from the Android operating system to RF front-end chips and the chip architectures from Arm Holdings, which form the basis for the in-house chip design unit HiSilicon made by Huawei.
|component||Manufacturer (country)||Manufacturer (country)|
|Read-only memory (NAND flash)||Micron (USA) (some batches) / Samsung (South Korea) (some batches, e.g. P30 Pro)||Samsung (South Korea)|
|High frequency front end modules||Qualcomm (USA); Skyworks (USA); Qorvo (USA)||Skyworks (USA); Qorvo (USA); Qualcomm (USA)|
|Communication and radio frequency chips||Qorvo (USA)||Couldn't be identified|
|Near field communication chips||NXP (Netherlands)||NXP (Netherlands)|
|screen||Samsung (South Korea)||BoE (China); LG (South Korea)|
|Microprocessor (system on chip)||HiSilicon from Huawei (China)||HiSilicon from Huawei (China)|
|battery||Desay (China); Amperex (China)||Desay (China); Amperex (China)|
|lens||Sony (Japan)||Sony (Japan)|
Additional reporting from Richard Waters in San Francisco.
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