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Teardown of Huawei’s new phone shows China’s chip breakthrough

(Updates attribution throughout, adds context in paragraphs 7,
8, 11, and 12, adds first reported by Bloomberg in paragraph 5)

Sept 4 (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies and China’s top
chipmaker SMIC 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

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.

The firm’s findings were first reported by Bloomberg News.

Huawei and SMIC did not immediately reply to Reuters’
request for comment.

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.

The phone’s launch sent Chinese social media users and state
media into a frenzy, with some noting it coincided with a visit
by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

From 2019, the U.S. has restricted Huawei’s access to
chipmaking tools essential for producing the most advanced
handset models, with the company only able to launch limited
batches of 5G models using stockpiled chips.

But research firms told Reuters in July that they believed
Huawei was planning a return to the 5G smartphone industry by
the end of this year, using its own advances in semiconductor
design tools along with chipmaking from SMIC.

Dan Hutcheson, an analyst with TechInsights, told Reuters
the development comes as a “slap in the face” to the U.S.

“Raimondo comes seeking to cool things down, and this chip
is ‘look what we can do, we don’t need you,'” he said.
(Reporting by Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru and Max A.; Editing by
Sandra Maler Cherney in San Francisco; Editing by Shilpi

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