11 September 2023

Yeah, About Those Sanctions

So, Huawei just rolled out a new phone using a Chinese made processor using 7nm technology.

This was supposed to be beyond the Chinese, they were assumed to be at the 14nm feature size, but apparently in response to US sanctions, Huawei and SMIC have rolled out chips very close to the current commercial standard. 

This is not a surprise.  The basic technology and basic physics are known, it is called Extreme UV Lithography, and they know that the technology can be implemented at a commercial scale.

So implementing the process so it's just a matter ironing out the kinks and making the (rather significant) capital investment.

Given the interest of Huawei, and SMIC, and and the Chinese government in technical development and their interest in minimizing the effects of US sanctions, this is not a surprise:

Huawei Technologies and China's top chipmaker SMIC (0981.HK) have built an advanced 7-nanometer processor to power its latest smartphone, according to a teardown report by analysis firm TechInsights.

Huawei's Mate 60 Pro is powered by a new Kirin 9000s chip that was made in China by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), TechInsights said in the report shared with Reuters on Monday.

Huawei started selling its Mate 60 Pro phone last week. The specifications provided advertised its ability to make satellite calls, but offered no information on the power of the chipset inside.

The processor is the first to utilize SMIC's most advanced 7nm technology and suggests the Chinese government is making some headway in attempts to build a domestic chip ecosystem, the research firm said.


Buyers of the phone in China have been posting tear-down videos and sharing speed tests on social media that suggest the Mate 60 Pro is capable of download speeds exceeding those of top line 5G phones.

This is not a surprise.  The current state of the art is 4nm, so 7nm is not a surprise.

This was a foreseeable response to aggressive sanctions by the US.

The US foreign policy Blob chalks up another one in the "L" column.

Their record is worse than the Washington Generals.


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