Bloomberg sources said that American chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx had told staff they wouldn’t supply Huawei with parts “till further notice,” leaving the Chinese tech giant without potentially vital components.
Nikkei’s sources suggest that Europe might be falling into line as well. “Infineon decided to adopt a more cautious measure and stopped the shipment. But it will hold meetings this week to discuss (the situation) and make assessments,” said one source speaking to Nikkei. In a statement, Infineon said that “the great majority of products Infineon delivers to Huawei is not subject to U.S. export control law restrictions, therefore those shipments will continue.” Nikkei also reported that European chipmaker ST Microelectronics is discussing its continued shipments to Huawei this week as well.
The effective trade ban could seriously damage Huawei’s ability to do business. The company depends on Intel chips both for its servers as well as PCs like the MateBook X Pro. Broadcom and Xilinx supply chips for its networking business. And while Huawei makes its own processors for many of its phones, it may still need Qualcomm for some chips.
Huawei has reportedly been preparing for a possibility like this by stockpiling components and designing its own chips. It’s betting that an end to the US-China trade war will come soon enough to avert catastrophe. However, it might only have enough supply for a few months. If the trade war doesn’t end soon or doesn’t lead to a thaw in US relations, Huawei may be forced to either find alternatives or lose important parts of its business.
Huawei has been developing in-house alternatives to Android and Windows, specifically to try and address a situation such as the present one. Microsoft hasn’t yet commented on whether it will continue to provide the Windows operating system for Huawei laptops, but odds are that it too will respect the US government’s orders.