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Huawei will design chips for smartphones and automotive jointly with STMicroelectronics

Huawei is working with French-Italian chipmaker – STMicroelectronics (STMicro) to co-design mobile and automotive chips. A report reveals that the Chinese tech giant took this move to secure an alternative and shield itself from further US restrictions.

According to NikkeiAsia, Huawei is doing a collaboration with STMicro to accelerate Huawei’s autonomous driving development. This joint chip development began as early as last year but has not been announced publicly.

This collaboration could save Huawei’s business interest from US restrictions. It’ll also allow the company to get some advanced chips, rather than designing them on its own and ordering the production directly from contract chipmakers.

“Such chip joint-development would give Huawei more flexibility to help itself if the U.S. later presses the nuclear option to block Huawei’s key chip contract manufacturers from producing chips for it unless they can obtain licenses. No one knows what the new export control regulations will be and if these efforts will work, but from Huawei’s point of view, it needs to try to secure more sources of possibilities for those crucial chips,” one of the people familiar with the plan said.

“Forging a close tie with STMicro is also a great opportunity for Huawei to hasten [its effort to] build automotive chips, a relatively new attempt in Huawei’s product road maps.” the person added.

STMicro manufactures professional sensor chips such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, motion, optics and images and a leading supplier of automotive chips.

Partnership with STMicro will lead Huawei to develop top automotive semiconductors and sell its solutions to firms such as Tesla and BMW.

Back in May, The US Commerce Department added Huawei into Entity List, which prohibits the company from purchasing US goods. It’s was reported that the US is planning to expand the restriction further including Taiwan’s TSMC. TSMC is one of the key chip makers of Huawei.

Therefore, Huawei has prioritized the mobile-related chip in the first development projects that will be developed for Huawei and Honor smartphones. This project is aimed to empower Huawei’s chip-making division – HiSilicon.

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