Chinese electronics company Huawei’s future looks bleaker than ever. The company is a major player in the telecommunications industry and has risen to prominence in the consumer space recently thanks to a series of well-regarded smartphones.

But a series of actions from the US government in recent years have lefts countries around the world wary of using Huawei networking equipment, and recent Huawei smartphones have shipped without the Google Play Store and Play Services, since Google isn’t working directly with the company anymore either.

Now Huawei may also have a hard time manufacturing chips for its own devices, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has announced it will no longer be filling new orders for Huawei.

The move comes a few days after the US government issued an order blocking companies outside of the United States from doing business with Huawei (if they’re also using US technology).

As Nikkei points out, the move could hurt TSMC — Huawei is the the company’s second biggest client. But violating the US order could hurt the company even more — the company’s biggest customers is the US-based Apple.

Meanwhile Huawei is likely going to be looking for other manufacturing partners, but there aren’t a lot of good options. Samsung would likely be subject to the same US government regulations, and China’s SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) is far behind the TSMC when it comes to manufacturing capacity and technology.

It’s certainly possible that the Trump administration could ease restrictions on Huawei and/or other Chinese companies such as ZTE as part of ongoing trade negotiations with China. And it’s also possible that a change in US leadership could also lead to a change in US/China relations when it comes to technology. But US skepticism of Huawei pre-dates the Trump Administration.

Engadget has a partial timeline, including the time in 2008 when Huawei decided not to buy 3Com because of US concerns, and the time in 2012 when a Congressional report suggested tight ties between Huawei and the Chinese government (claims which Huawei disputes).

But with Huawei virtually cut off from Google, TSMC, ARM, and other key partners at this point, things definitely don’t look good for the company right now.

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6 replies on “TSMC to cease business with Huawei following US order”

  1. There’s a lot I’m supposed to say about this trade war but I don’t hate the certain groups of people I’m supposed to talk about enough to think it’s worth saying, when we, all human beings, are all already scum that need to be wiped off the face of the earth.
    But in principle, if that wasn’t the case, when a lot of people are out of work, it’s better to at least try to create an environment where useful jobs that replace the designated non-essential jobs they lost can appear.
    Even if, in all likelihood, the United States will lose, and as a consequence of this and all the other things it has been doing wrong for the past hundred years, society there will degrade irrecoverably, ultimately leading to visibly accelerated invasion and destruction.

  2. Remember that Huawei is essentially the technology R&D dept of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s difficult for western people to understand that a company in China is different from almost everywhere else in the world. So, sorry, not sorry, Huawei.

  3. I hope China takes this opportunity to improve it’s domestic fab technology. I am thinking the new TSMC fab in Arizona could be related to a new trade deal between US and Taiwan (of which one of the conditions could be blacklisting Huawei).
    I wonder how strict TSMC is going to be if Huawei uses shell companies to make orders.

    1. The US government LOVES to leverage a mighty streak of power against some who offend their ideas of who is allowed to do what. Sometimes a blind eye and sometimes decades of vendetta. Do they feel lucky?

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