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.