Yesterday, there were reports that TSMC has obtained a license to continue to supply Huawei. According to the report, TSMC will only supply “mature technology” to Huawei. This report is coming after official confirmations that AMD and Intel can now work with Huawei. However, there is more to this report as TSMC calls it a “baseless market rumors”. With regards to the recent speculation, TSMC said: “It will not respond to baseless market rumors“.
TSMC’s third-quarter financial report shows that the company is doing well as usual. The company’s third-quarter revenue hit a record of 84.488 billion yuan ($12.6 billion), a year-on-year increase of 21.65%. Many thanks to the massive order from Huawei.
Since the begining of last year, the Chinese manufacturer had to cope with the American ban. The Chinese manufacturer can not use Google Mobile Services which affected its business outside China. Seeing that the initial ban did not have much effect on Huawei, the U.S. strengthened its ban on Huawei a few months ago. According to the new ban, any company that uses American technology must obtain a license before working for Huawei. According to reports, the target for the new ban on Huawei is TSMC who is in charge of Huawei Kirin chips.
After September 15th, TSMC and other companies that uses American technology will no longer be able to supply Huawei. Due to the recent ban, Huawei consumer CEO, Yu Chengdong, admitted that the Kirin 9000 could be the company’s last flagship SoC. TSMC has since applied to the U.S. government for permission to continue to supply Huawei. However, there is no official response from TSMC with regards to its application.
TSMC’s “mature technology” will not solve Huawei’s problems
Although TSMC is denying the current speculation, if it is true, it does not solve Huawei’s problems. Even if TSMC supplies “mature technology” to Huawei, it will not be enough. It is generally acceted that products above the 28nm node are mature. The likes of 16nm, 10nm, 7nm and the latest 5nm processes are advanced processes.
According to current standards, Huawei’s consumer terminal business will still face the problem of core shortage. This is because mobile phone chips require high technology not just mature technology. Huawei’s Kirin 9000 uses TSMC’s 5nm process, which is currently the most advanced process.
According to report, TSMC was unable to deliever Huawei’s complete order for its latest Kirin 9000 SoC. Huawei ordered for 15 million units but TSMC was only able to deliever 8.8 million units. With this number, this chip will not be sufficient for more than six months at best.