Published in News

US denies that China makes high-tech phones at scale

by on20 September 2023

That would mean the onions were better than the ducks

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said she was “upset” when China’s Huawei released a new phone with an advanced chip during her visit to the country last month but insisted that the US has no evidence China can make those components “at scale.”

For those who came in late, the US has been trying to shut down Chinese advanced chip design with embargos and leaning on its allies. It was particularly nasty to Huawei, which had many contracts to produce cheap and reliable 5G gear in Europe.

Imagine its horror when Huawei announced a mid-range 5G phone, which appeared to be using the chips the US had been trying to stop it from getting. It was widely seen as a sign that either the US ban was not working or China had worked a way to develop the technology itself.

“We are trying to use every single tool at our disposal to deny the Chinese the ability to advance their technology in ways that can hurt us,” Raimondo testified at a congressional hearing Tuesday.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security this month opened an investigation into Huawei’s phone and the “purported” 7-nanometer chip, made by China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, which was discovered in a teardown of the handset that TechInsights conducted for Bloomberg News.

It is unclear whether SMIC has approval from Commerce to supply Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the US. Raimondo said she won’t comment on any active investigations but that the Commerce Department will investigate whenever a company may have violated US export controls.

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