The United States government is seeking more information about China’s Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, the Mate 60 Pro, which has an advanced 5G Kirin 9000s processor that has left industry experts perplexed.
This has raised eyebrows as it challenges the ongoing U.S. restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei.
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During a White House press briefing on Tuesday, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed the need for “more information about precisely the phone’s character and composition” to determine if the American restrictions on semiconductor exports were avoided in the creation of this chip.
In 2019, the U.S. government placed a ban on U.S. companies selling software and equipment to Huawei, along with restricting international chipmakers from partnering with the China’s tech giant due to perceived national security concerns.
These concerns included fears of potential cyberattacks or espionage activities.
David McQueen, a director at market research firm ABI Research, commented on the Mate 60 Pro’s launch, saying, “I think the reaction in China seems to be one of mass excitement because Huawei, which was at one time vying to be the number one smartphone brand worldwide, is seen to be fighting its way back into the smartphone market with Chinese-made silicon, and has no doubt been trading on a ‘Made In China’ mantra.”
McQueen also raised some questions about how Huawei managed to bring the Mate 60 Pro to market despite being under strict U.S. sanctions for the past four years, which restricted access to 5G technology and related components.
“While access to 5G for the chipset is one thing, I’m not sure how the company managed to source all the other components that need to go into a 5G smartphone, such as power amps, switches, and filters,” he noted.
When Huawei unveiled the Mate 60 Pro last month, the company provided limited information about the chip on its product page, offering only vague promises of a superior communication experience and a more stable network connection.
However, consultant firm TechInsights recently conducted an in-depth analysis of the Mate 60 Pro and identified the chip as a 7-nanometer processor, purportedly made by China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).
It’s worth noting that SMIC, a partially state-owned Chinese company, was included in the export restrictions set by the U.S. government several years ago.
National Security Adviser Sullivan emphasized that the United States should maintain its technology restrictions focused on national security concerns, adopting a “small yard, high fence” approach, regardless of the outcome.
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Huawei has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the U.S. government’s inquiries into the Mate 60 Pro’s advanced chip technology.