In 2019, on the cusp of seeing its long-standing goal of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the world come true, Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s device list, where it currently is. This prevents Huawei from getting supplies from what was once a thriving US supply chain, and as a result it is no longer allowed to use the Google Mobile Services version of Android. This forced Huawei to develop its own HarmonyOS operating system now at version 3.1.
One year to the day it was placed on the unit list, the U.S. Commerce Department added a new export rule that prevents foundries that use U.S. technology to build chips from sending cutting-edge silicon to Huawei. The company was able to get permission from the US to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs, but these have been modified so they won’t work with 5G networks. And it will use a three-year-old Kirin 710A chip to power the upcoming Enjoy 60 mid-ranger.
Reuters reports that according to Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, the company had to replace 13,000 parts in its products that it was unable to source due to the US trade sanctions. Ren had come up with that number during a speech he gave last month, which was posted online Friday by a university in China. The 13,000 parts were replaced by substitutes purchased domestically, and it redesigned 4,000 circuit boards used in Huawei products. The company’s production of printed circuit boards has since stabilized, Ren said.
Alleged design sketch of the upcoming Huawei P60 Pro reveals a Dynamic Island notification system at the top of the screen
Reuters says it has not been able to independently verify Ren’s remarks, which the university claims were made on February 24 in front of technology experts. The school, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, posted the transcript on its website late last week.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the US on Huawei, the company continues to spend money on research and development. Last year, it spent $23.8 billion on R&D, leading Ren to say, “as our profitability improves, we will continue to increase R&D spending.”
This coming Thursday, March 23, Huawei is expected to unveil its latest flagship series, the P60 line, the foldable Mate X3 and the mid-range Enjoy 60.