Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the US, has managed to start making devices without American parts, replacing them with components sourced elsewhere.
According to analysis by UBS and Japanese technology firm Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, seen by the Wall Street Journal, Huawei’s latest phones had no US parts.
“When Huawei came out with this high-end phone – and this is its flagship – with no US content, that made a pretty big statement,” Susquehanna International Group semiconductor analyst Christopher Rolland told the Journal.
International Business Strategies’ Handel Jones said that “independence of US supply indicates that the strategies of the US in trying to isolate Huawei are not working.”
Huawei and 68 of its affiliates were placed on the US Entity List in May after being accused by the Trump administration of spying for China. Both Beijing and Huawei have denied all the accusations. Washington’s ban meant the company would have to seek permission to purchase any American components it needed to manufacture its products.
Later, the US Commerce Department eased some of the restrictions until August, allowing Huawei to maintain and update existing networks and handsets. It has since been granted two more extensions.
According to the UBS-Fomalhaut report, since May Huawei had added a number of non-US suppliers and used components from companies based in other countries.
The Fomalhaut analysis showed that the company had cut down its reliance on American suppliers in smartphones launched after May, including the Y9 Prime and Mate devices. The report said that the Mate devices contained chips made by Dutch NXP Semiconductors as replacements for those made by US firm Cirrus Logic.
The move away from American parts extends beyond cell phone production, according to the report.
“All of our 5G is now America-free,” Huawei cybersecurity official John Suffolk told the WSJ. “We would like to continue using American components. It’s good for American industry. It’s good for Huawei. That has been taken out of our hands.”
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