back to article Huawei reportedly building 'secret' semiconductor fabs

Huawei is building a network of secret semiconductor fabs in China, according to recent media reports. Or maybe it isn't. The Semiconductor Industry Association reportedly informed its members that Huawei has acquired two existing plants and is building three more. It has also received some $30 billion in government subsidies …

  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Nothing to see here

    "a shadow manufacturing network that would let the blacklisted company skirt US sanctions and further the nation's technology ambitions."

    Somewhat alarmist language for a very obvious reaction to sanctions, which Bloomberg "discovered" through the usual channels.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to see here

      Somewhat alarmist language for a very obvious reaction to sanctions

      Quite.

      One wonders what they expect; that people are just going to say "oh no!" and quietly go bankrupt instead of working out legal ways of producing equipment that doesn't break US sanctions.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    “According to Bloomberg..."

    Say no more, squire, say no more.

  3. Avon B7

    'Secret'?

    Huawei's breadcrumb trails are pretty easy to follow, if you really want to follow them, and the admission by SIA that it based its claims on publicly available data (which no doubt included a slice or two of speculation) shoots a big hole into the 'secret' aspect of all this.

    Huawei, like Apple, Google, Microsoft and practically every other tech company on the planet does have labs, research centres and the like which contain 'secret' products etc but you can't keep mass production sites secret at all when the products are destined for the consumer industry.

    The manufacturing 'grey' market for some manufacturing tools (hardware and software) has always existed. Getting things from that market or 'second hand' is commonplace across all industries, too.

    Let's not forget that both China and the EU have 'sanctions busting' laws. AFAIK, China has only used those once since sanctions began but if a Chinese company can legally purchase US technology, Chinese law makes it very difficult for them to not be able to sell it on within China.

    The US is well aware of this.

    As for Huawei's plans, well logically they don't advertise them and, under the current circumstances, they even go out of their way to 'openly' keep some things 'secret'. That's why all the circuit boards and chips on show at MWC2023 were taped over or eliminated.

    What are they doing exactly with regards to chip manufacturing?

    No one on the outside knows officially, but it is clear they have no alternative but to become vertical in chip production as soon as possible.

    They will do that through their own resources, government funding, common strategies with universities and by investing in local technology companies and pushing them to improve their products.

    The 5G BAW-filter 'choke point' is a rumoured clasic example of this.

    The US openly spoke of destroying Huawei. It used the term 'choke' on many occasions.

    However, It looks like it is the entire US semiconductor industry will end up choking on the sanctions in the longer term.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Secret'?

      The semiconductor industry is a very complex and international value chain. From so many different industries.

      To make the best chips, you have to master all the links in that value chain. Best optics, best lithography, best lasers... etc. etc.

      May be you would like to see "the entire US semiconductor industry" "choking on the sanctions".

      For now, unless Chinese economy can magically weather the current storm it's in, and suddenly become the best in all compartments of the international game, "the entire US semiconductor industry" can quietly carry on steaming ahead. Sorry.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Here beginneth the first of many major lessons

    Methinks everyone with any great sense has to learn and accept that to think that they can secrets secret is to self-identify oneself as a deluded fool and useful enough tool for A.N.Others to exploit.

  5. Yes Me Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Surprise, surprise

    So, you're running a highly successful manufacturing company and some big bully tries to cut off your supply of important components. So, you set up factories to supply such components. So, the big bully acts all surprised and shocked. Just what is the news here?

    As we've known for some years, the strategic impact of ObamaTrumpBiden's trade war against China will be to greatly strengthen China's high-tech industries. This is evidence that it's already happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surprise, surprise

      Russia, East Germany, Europe, India have all failed to create their own national semiconductor industry. And most of them were operating in an open market, with possibilities to procure the best machines and to hire the best experts...

      I would not bet a cent on a country, isolated from the value chain and whose experts are leaving in drove.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Yawn

    Best get used to being also-rans. That's what the incumbents are likely to become if this stupid trade war continues.

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