Thursday, September 7, 2023

Chips: "SK hynix says no Huawei its memory should be in Chinese wonder-phone"

Following on the post immediately below, Chips: "Teardown of Huawei's new phone shows China's chip breakthrough"

From The Register September 8:

The Mate 60 Pro keeps making waves – this time worrying Korean chipmaker

If The Register ever ran an awards program*, the choice for 2023's Most Disruptive Smartphone would be easy: Huawei's Mate 60 Pro has created a geopolitical ruckus like no other device, now giving South Korean memory-maker SK hynix a supply chain and compliance mystery to ponder.

SK hynix is worried about the Mate 60 Pro because the teardown artists of TechInsight found its LPDDR5 memory inside the handset.

Yet the Korean chipmaker told Bloomberg it hasn't sold any of its product to Huawei since US sanctions were imposed on the Chinese company in 2020.

"SK hynix no longer does business with Huawei since the introduction of the US restrictions against the company and with regard to the issue we started an investigation to find out more details," the chip shop told Bloomberg.

In January 2020 SK hynix teased LPDDR5 memory for mobile devices, and in March 2021 trumpeted mass production of 18GB modules had commenced.

Huawei should not, therefore, have found it easy to get its hands on the memory. An alternative explanation would be it has stockpiled the stuff for years.

Which is a problem for SK hynix, as the US has granted it exemptions from some sanctions to allow its China-based operations to continue. If the chipmaker's surprise is feigned, trouble could lie ahead....