Huawei recently confirmed that its upcoming Mate 40 will be the last smartphone to use the high-end Kirin processors. The Chinese company will lose access to TSMC for producing its Kirin chipsets starting September 14. According to the latest report from Digitimes, Huawei's chip subsidiary HiSilicon is also losing engineers in Taiwan.
Huawei can no longer make the Kirin chipsets without the help from third-party foundries like TSMC and Samsung. As a result, the engineers from its HiSilcon division in Taiwan are leaving the company. Unfortunately, this is also happening when the company is looking setup its own chip fabs.
Engineers leaving Huawei HiSilicon while the company is building its own fab
As per the source, Huawei is reportedly constructing a 45nm fab in its home country China. We should also consider the 45nm chipsets as outdated and will be of no use for its smartphones. The upcoming Mate 40 series might come powered by the Kirin chipset built using TSMC's 5nm process.
While the company said to have stocked enough chipsets to sustain for one more year, it might have to partner with its competition for its future flagships. Qualcomm is reportedly in talks with the US government to get permission for supplying its Snapdragon chipsets to Huawei.
Mate 40 could be the last flagship to use Kirin chipset
Huawei currently uses the Snapdragon chipsets in a few of its entry-level smartphones. If the US-China trade conflict continues to escalate into 2021, the Shenzhen-based company might find it very difficult to survive in the smartphone market. While the company successfully built software alternatives, it's not the same case with hardware products.
Like Apple, Huawei also designs its chipsets and uses third-party foundries to produce them. Taiwan's TSMC has been the sole manufacturer for its flagship chipset for many years. In May this year, the US Commerce Department made amendments to the export rule to block TSMC from producing Kirin chipsets.
While TSMC was allowed to fulfill the earlier orders until mid-September, it was blocked from taking new orders from Huawei. During the 2020 Summit of the China Information Technology Association, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, Richard Yu, announced the production of Kirin chips might come to an end on September 14.
Huawei is expected to launch the flagship Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro smartphones along with the rumored Mate X2 foldable smartphone in September. The company might announce the future of its chipset business during the upcoming launch event.