Yu went on to say that Chinese chip manufacturers such as SMIC currently don’t have the capabilities to make up for the shortfall. He also warned supplies of the Mate 40 would be limited.
“Huawei spent over a decade exploring chipsets, going from ‘severely behind’ to ‘very behind’ to ‘slightly behind’ to ‘finally caught up’ to ‘leading’ to now being banned,” said Yu. “We made huge R&D investments and went through a difficult journey. Unfortunately, when it came to semiconductor production, Huawei didn’t participate in investing in heavy assets in this field; we only did chip design but skipped chip production.”
The Trump administration’s Entity List ban has already had a significant effect on Huawei. The company already faces an uphill battle trying to make its phones appealing without access to the Google Play Store. However, the fact it can’t make its own high-end chips probably stings worse. If there’s a silver lining for Huawei, it’s that its Kirin line isn’t completely going away. Earlier this year, SMIC, China’s largest chip foundry, started producing a 14nm Kirin chip for Huawei, and it could one day have the process node capabilities to go toe to toe with TSMC and Samsung. But that will likely take time since the company is two chip generations behind Huawei’s former supplier.