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Huawei says it’s running out of smartphone processors due to U.S. sanctions

Chinese tech company Huawei says it is struggling to secure enough processors to manufacture its mobile phones, due to a U.S. ban on the sale of parts to the company. Huawei says this ban is damaging its business and that it will not be able to produce its own processors for much longer.

As reported by AP, Richard Yu, president of Huawei’s consumer unit, discussed the issue at the China Info 100 conference this week. “This is a very big loss for us,” Yu said. “Unfortunately, in the second round of U.S. sanctions, our chip producers only accepted orders until May 15. Production will close on September 15. This year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips.”

This is part of a broader overall issue for the company in securing processors, with Yu saying that the company not only lacks the ability to manufacture its own chips, but also lacks access to a reliable supply of third-party chips. The company is projected to sell fewer smartphone handsets this year compared to last year.

This dispute began last year when the U.S. government took action against Huawei by the Department of Commerce putting the company on its “Entity List.” This forbids the company from acquiring parts or components from U.S. suppliers unless the U.S. government specifically allows it.

The action was taken on May 15, 2019, as part of an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. This meant that Huawei was unable to support certain Google apps on its devices and Huawei users could not access the Google app store.

The U.S. government took this action because it believed that Huawei products were unsafe and that software on its devices could contain a backdoor which would allow the Chinese government to access user data. This could potentially allow the Chinese government to spy on users. Huawei denied this, but the company was placed on the Entity List anyway with the order against supplying the company being extended until next year.

Similar tensions have arisen recently between the U.S. government and video app TikTok, with the U.S. claiming that the app is collecting user data which could be funneled to the Chinese government and is therefore a threat to national security.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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