Chinese manufacturer Huawei claims it has managed to overcome the restrictions placed on it by US sanctions.
Huawei has faced US sanctions since 2018 when President Trump banned the company from being used by the federal government due to security concerns. Then in 2019 it was added to the Entity List meaning US companies could not do business with Huawei unless they obtained a license first. More recently, sanctions against the Chinese semiconductor industry limited Huawei’s access to advanced technology and manufacturing equipment, as well as blocking imports of its equipment into the US.
As the South China Morning Post(Opens in a new window) reports, last month Chinese entrepreneur and Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei gave a speech at Nanjing University where he detailed how the company managed to overcome most of these sanctions. A transcript of the speech has now been shared publicly and reveals how Huawei went through a process of redesigning over 4,000 circuit boards as well as finding local suppliers for more than 13,000 components the company needs for its products.
Zhengfei also stated that Huawei developed its own operating system (HarmonyOS), data system, programming language (Cangjie(Opens in a new window)), and compiler so as to be self-sufficient. The company is now preparing to release a new MetaERP resources planning system in April which takes advantage of this new software stack.
Huawei spent $23.8 billion last year on research and development and has now refocused its business on providing enterprise solutions. Zhengfei said Huawei has no interest in developing a ChatGPT rival like some other Chinese companies are, and that despite the difficulties caused by the sanctions, he is not “anti West.”
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With some Chinese companies deciding to fill warehouses with chip components ahead of the US sanctions coming into force, Huawei’s approach to the problem is likely to be widely copied once those stock piles disappear. However, one ares of sanctions Huawei can’t easily overcome is a lack of access to advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment from the US, Japan, and the Netherlands. For that, Huawei requires local semiconductor manufacturers to make some major breakthroughs of their own, or it may try and sidestep the problem and hope it doesn’t get caught again.
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