Samsung and memory manufacturer SK Hynix have discontinued deliveries of semiconductor products to Huawei from September 15. At least, that’s what Korean news sites say. That date stems from previously announced US export restrictions.
The Korean site Chosun Biz, among others, reports the impending strike of deliveries. The medium claims to be based on sources within the chip industry. The website says it is unclear whether the memory chips are also directly part of the upcoming restrictions. This step from Samsung and SK Hynix is quite plausible, because September 14 is the last day for the permitted delivery to Huawei of chips using American software or technology. In the meantime, Chosun Biz reports that Samsung and SK Hynix have submitted a request to the US trade ministry to be allowed to supply semiconductor products to Huawei.
These developments are related to the limitation of chip deliveries to Huawei. These are export-restricting measures against Huawei, which revolve around chip designs made with American software and technology. This measure was announced in mid-May and will be effective in 120 days, which equates to September 15. Exceptions can be made and Samsung and SK Hynix have reportedly asked for this from the US government.
In August, the US government tightened this measure further, by also blocking deals with third parties. That should make it even more difficult for Huawei to get chips made on the basis of American technology. This tightening is intended to prevent the circumvention of the measure announced in May. The US is thinking of a scenario in which Huawei might still get the chips via third companies.
The measure means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Huawei to obtain or make chips. This is partly because the measure also applies to subsidiaries such as HiSilicon, which bases the designs for its Kirin-socs for smartphones on the Arm architecture. The measure also affects TSMC, which produces chips for Huawei. The Taiwanese company indicated in July that it would stop deliveries on September 14 and had already stopped processing new chip orders from Huawei and HiSilicon on May 15. This leaves the Chinese company little else than to turn to alternative suppliers, such as the Chinese SMIC. However, the US government is also considering putting SMIC on the US blacklist. According to rumors, Huawei wants to use chips from MediaTek and Unisoc.
In addition to the restrictions on chip deliveries, Chosun Biz reports that Samsung Display and LG Display have established a policy to stop supplying premium smartphone panels to Huawei. Panels also seem to fall under the restrictions, probably because chips are needed to control the screens and those chips do fall under the export restrictions in any case. Samsung Display declined to comment on a Reuters request.