back to article Huawei is planning to inject $436m into Arm-based server silicon

Embattled Chinese electronics maker Huawei said it will plough ¥3bn ($436m) into Arm-based server chip development over the next five years. The company wants to build more products like the recently launched Arm-based Kunpeng 920 – a 64-core beast clocked at 2.6GHz, made on the 7nm process. Eric Xu, Huawei's rotating …

  1. Aitor 1 Silver badge


    This is VERY smart.. if they get in the naughty list they would be able to keep producing the chips.

    Now, the main problem is a motherboard has plenty of other components.. and right now they use "best of breed", so coming up with alternatives is going to make their products less competitive.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Smart

      The Chinese will never be able to match those smart people in Taiwan and Singapore to make better semi-conductors.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart

        For China, Taiwan is part of China. I suspect that Trump has focussed a lot of attention in Beijing on routes to reunification.

        Power does not always grow out of the barrel of a gun, long range hypersonic missiles may be involved.

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Smart

        "The Chinese will never be able to match those smart people in Taiwan and Singapore to make better semi-conductors."

        15 years ago I had to endure sitting through graduation ceremonies at Warwick Uni. The VAST majority of Science and Maths higher degrees were going to Chinese students. I doubt much has changed since then

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Smart

          <woosh> What ethnicity are the people in Taiwan and Singapore .... </woosh>

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Smart

        It's hard to make sarcasm show in postings....

        Back in the 1980s we used to say that the guys in Korea/Taiwan were knocking off Japanese designs and couldn't come up with anything original.

        By the end of the 1980s that was obviously wrong and by the 1990s they were outstripping Japan.

        Talking to a bunch of Huawei engineers last year they commented that they thought Chinese academia was crap and most PhDs being awarded were for fairly "worthless" stuff - I had to point out that this is the norm everywhere and occasionally a few of those "worthless" discoveries turn out a decade or so later to be critical turning points in development or understanding. This is important because the number of patents and low level discoveries coming out of China is easily matching the USA - which succumbed to self-important puffery a long time ago and at some point is going to wake up finding that it can't be the neighbourhood bully anymore - most likely "Gulliver in Lilliputt" style as noone else actually _wants_ a fight.

        A quite successful businessman I knew a long time ago pointed out that the most important thing about having a degree wasn't so much what it was in, so much as it showed the holder could apply themselves for prolonged periods - interestingly he _didn't_ like hiring MBAs or other business-type grads and preferred arts/education grads for management/business planning roles as they tended to be better at it.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Smart

          And in the 60s and 70s the West said that the Japanese could only steal Western designs and not make anything original.

          And in the 18th/19th Century, the UK/Europe said America could only steal European designs and not come up with anything new...

          You can probably keep going back, the Greeks moaning about the Romans etc.

          And don't forget, China invented a lot of things centuries before the West even thought about them.

      4. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Smart

        >The Chinese will never be able to match those smart people in Taiwan and Singapore to make better semi-conductors.

        Should you find yourself working in California you might notice that a lot of your colleagues are Chinese. You'll also notice that while 20 years ago if you wanted to work on leading edge technologies you'd want to move to CA, these days its still where a lot of work is done but there may very well be significant opportunities (and better pay) in China. (...and you won't have to deal with an increasingly hostile immigration system and a government that thinks you're all spies)

        As for Taiwan, its part of China. Read up on a bit of history. (As for Singapore you'll find that wherever there's business going on in these remote parts of the world there tends to be Chinese...)

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Smart

      Except, when Huawei was put on the naughty list, ARM revoked their license to use ARM technology...

      They might be able to continue using the current version of ARM they had, or at least continue to produce and sell in China (if the Chinese authorities turned a blind eye to the infringement), but they wouldn't have access to newer designs and they wouldn't be able to sell internationally.

      1. Gonzo wizard

        "ARM revoked their license to use ARM technology"

        Not quite right. Any deals already done, including prior sales of IP, stand. What ARM aren't allowed to do however is provide support or engage in new sales activity (so none of the most recent developments will be available). Huawei are legally permitted to continue using IP that they have already purchased. They are even legally permitted to sell phones and other hardware into the USA that they've already manufactured - although demand will be severely affected.

        Unfortunately it is quite likely that the Chinese companies in this situation will end up simply ignoring the licence terms for the IP they have already purchased - and doing whatever they want with it. After all, it isn't as if they will be able to sell their products into the USA, or any other countries that the USA would embargo if sales were committed.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: "ARM revoked their license to use ARM technology"

          What's likely to happen is a bifurcation in the ARM ecosystem -- the Chinese will continue to develop ARM processors to suit their needs.

          The decision to use ARM is primarily commercial, not technological -- it makes sense to use a particular processor if its cheap enough than to develop an entire ecosystem. It doesn't mean that they can't develop a processor that's at least as good, just they've got better uses for their time and resources.

          (Also, I notice that ARM was developed in the UK and then sold to the Japanese. I'm not sure where the US gets involved.)

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "ARM revoked their license to use ARM technology"

            ARM has a branch in Texas, and it does some R&D there. That's how the Feds get involved.

            That said, this recent article indicates at least some of ARM's recent designs have no US input, meaning the Feds have no power to block their distribution.

  2. 2Blockchainz

    Bad news for US Defence firms

    It now appears unlikely that the PRC will invade Taiwan in order to gain chip manufacturing capability.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Bad news for US Defence firms

      There is Iran, North Korea... and Ukraine just seized a Russian tanker, no lack of problems!

      Meanwhile the US does not care about OUR tanker seized in retaliation for us helping the US...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad news for US Defence firms

        >>>Meanwhile the US does not care about OUR tanker seized in retaliation for us helping the US...<<<

        You'd think after Suez, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc the UK would have learned its lesson. But no.

        Still at least the EU will aid the brexiting UK after its request for a European "maritime protection mission” in the Gulf.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Conveniently "OUR tanker"

        That tanker is about as British as a certain news article presents ARM to be.

        1. Nick Kew

          Re: Conveniently "OUR tanker"

          That's going to get a lot worse.

          Our ship flagging agency has been told to grow its business. But reputable shipping companies have been leaving in droves to re-flag with EU countries such as Malta. So the UK is now seeking to prostitute itself as a flag of convenience for the bottom end of the market.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the company presents a national security risk"

    Bollocks. As far as the UK is concerned, this is just as true with Cisco.

    In any case, with Huawei one thing is sure : China has attained technological independence from the Western block. It is on track to no longer need anything from us to grow its own IT industry, which means we will now have the chance to witness true competition in the IT space, with products grown in an entirely independent sphere.

    Who knows what Chinese inventiveness and ingenuity is going to bring to the computing table of the future ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the company presents a national security risk"

      Technological independence: my a*se. They need to licence chip designs from ARM, buy chips from. broadcomm and intel. If they are so independent, being on the US entity list would not be such an issue (and it clearly was/is a huge problem)

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: "the company presents a national security risk"

        We live on an international world.

        If a country gets cut from a major country, no way you can function properly.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "the company presents a national security risk"

        It was enough for ARM to revoke their manufacturing license and stop all support...

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: "the company presents a national security risk"

        They do not 'need' to buy chips from Broadcomm, Intel or whatever. Its a commercial decision.

        A couple of days ago Huawei's chairman had a lengthy interview with a journalist from Yahoo Finance. Its worth reading the transcript.

        The only risk Huawei poses to the US is that it threatens US hegemony. Our government's reaction to this threat has the potential to cause irreversible damage to large segments of the US's technology industries. If you work in this area you'd understand this but instead we get a lot of comments from the "Brandy and Cigars in the War Room" mindset crowd that are based on a fantasy world from decades ago. (Its no coincidence that they're trying to push a rehash of "Top Gun"......I expect it will be yet another version of "Red Dawn" next....its about all we're fit for these days.)

    2. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: "the company presents a national security risk"

      Oh please. Everyone in the industry knows that security of Huawei products leaks like a sieve and the software engineering culture is not on par to C/J.

      If the US was serious in wanting to keep appearances they would focus on that instead of the ridiculous "the government backdoors".

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Totally Expected

    I could see this coming long before the Orange one threw (yet another) tantrum. Interesting times indeed - and ultimately good for us mere ordinary folk.

  5. Francis Boyle

    "Eric Xu, Huawei's rotating chairman"

    That must make meetings interesting. I suppose it keeps the underlings on their feet.

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