The news for Huawei just keeps getting worse. TSMC revealed earlier this year that it would be cutting off access to Huawei, and had stopped taking orders from the company.
That's a huge blow to both TSMC and Huawei, as Huawei was designing all of its own chipsets, from its HiSilicon division. With TSMC manufacturing those chipsets. TSMC manufactured over 95% of the HiSilicon Kirin chipsets.
What this basically means is that without TSMC, Huawei can't even make a new smartphone. And that's a big issue, even bigger than being banned from using Google services.
MediaTek to the rescue
But that's good news for MediaTek.
While Huawei knew about the TSMC ban before it went into effect and started stockpiling a lot of its Kirin chipsets to use in future phones, Huawei still needs to look to the future. As they will run out of those chipsets at some point.
And Huawei is looking at MediaTek for chipsets, following the TSMC ban. MediaTek has lagged behind in the processor world for quite some time, and it is normally only found in much cheaper smartphones (and other products). But now with Qualcomm pushing 5G pretty hard, that's actually good news for MediaTek, as their chipsets are cheaper and are being put into more mid-range and budget devices now. Instead of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 and 600 series.
MediaTek does have some 5G designs available already though, like the Dimensity 800 which is a 7nm processor, and is actually running on the Huawei Enjoy Z already.
It is possible for MediaTek to fill Huawei's needs with chipsets, even in the high-end category. But Huawei will still need to get past the stigma of MediaTek offering lower-end and slower chipsets compared to Qualcomm.
So how is this good news for MediaTek? Well it means it's going to be in more phones. Despite the US ban on Huawei, the company is still shipping record numbers of smartphones, since being placed on the entity list last year. And if Huawei is able to use MediaTek chipsets for all of its smartphones, well that would be a big boost for MediaTek. It would also help elevate them into competition with Qualcomm, which it has failed at for the past few years.
There's really no replacement for Qualcomm's Snapdragon lineup, and the Kirin chipsets were the closet to competing with Snapdragon. But with the entity list in effect, neither Snapdragon or Kirin is an option for Huawei any longer. It's unfortunate that Huawei can't even use its own chipsets any longer.