Apple is facing stiff competition in China as Huawei, the country's premier mobile manufacturer, has caught up with Apple's technology thanks to the development of cutting-edge semiconductors by China's homegrown semiconductor producer, SMIC.
In the face of U.S. sanctions against China's procurement of semiconductors from Taiwan, China has leapfrogged in its efforts to cultivate its own semiconductor industry, prompting unease in Washington DC. The country's semiconductor technology was previously believed to have been generations behind its rivals in Taiwan. Concurrently, experts are examining the efficiency of the manufacturing process for these chips, questioning its viability to bolster a sustainable resurgence for Huawei, CNBC reports.
For an extended period, the U.S. has asserted that Huawei poses a national security threat, attributing this to purported ties with the Chinese Communist Party and the nation's armed forces. However, Huawei has consistently refuted such claims.
Initiated in 2019 under President Donald Trump's administration, the U.S. imposed a series of stringent sanctions. These measures deprived Huawei of vital technologies such as 5G chips, Google software, and its state-of-the-art mobile processor, which had previously catapulted the company to the zenith of global smartphone manufacturing. Consequently, Huawei's smartphone operations were severely imperiled by these U.S. curbs.
Joining the ranks of tech giants like Apple and Samsung, Huawei is among the select companies to have crafted its own smartphone processor, a feat achieved through its HiSilicon division.
Nevertheless, the actual production of the chip was overseen by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., often referred to as TSMC. However, due to U.S. export constraints, which essentially prevented Huawei from utilising American technology at any stage of the chip fabrication, the Chinese conglomerate found itself unable to procure its chips from TSMC.
The Taiwan-based chip producer, TSMC, stands unrivalled as the world's foremost semiconductor manufacturer. Presently, no Chinese firm matches its capability. Thus, the industry was taken aback when Huawei quietly launched the Mate 60 Pro in China recently, armed with a chip that almost rivals TSMC's process.