After TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) stopped supplying silicon wafers to Huawei following the US ban, Huawei is looking at alternatives that can save HiSilicon and it looks like MediaTek could be the ideal option.
This is a big blow to Huawei considering over 95% of Huawei’s Kirin chips are made of wafers supplied by TSMC. Without a foundry, Huawei would not be able to produce new phones. TSMC is still completing the orders that were made before it decided to stop the supply.
As of now, Huawei is stocking up on its upcoming Kirin 1000 processor which is the successor to last year’s Kirin 990. The Kirin 1000 will debut in the upcoming Mate 40 series. It’s to be noted that Huawei knew about this upcoming seizure of supply and hence they took measures to ensure a sufficient number of chipsets stay in the inventory. Hence, the effect of this ban shouldn’t impact the Chinese manufacturer on a large scale.
Huawei is looking at MediaTek to design Kirin chipsets. MediaTek, despite making a lot of efforts, hasn’t been able to get closer to Qualcomm in terms of sales. In the past few years, a lot of phones were launched with MediaTek processors and their sales were pretty good which suggests that MediaTek is slowly but steadily spreading its roots. With Qualcomm solely focusing on 5G chipsets in markets where 5G’s auction is 2-3 years away, MediaTek is focusing on making chipsets powerful and affordable by sticking to 4G.
For instance, let us take an example of MediaTek’s G90T which is a powerful mid-range processor with ARM’s Cortex-A76 cores. The G90T on the Redmi Note 8 Pro was able to provide great performance whilst staying in the mid-range price category. It is more likely that we’ll see more MediaTek-powered Huawei phones in the future due to this switch. Huawei has already launched the Enjoy Z with MediaTek Dimensity 800 platform. Hence, it is possible that Huawei might depend on MediaTek in the future.