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US Lincenses Qualcomm To Sell 4G Mobile Chips To Huawei Despite Ban

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The US Commerce Department has given Qualcomm the green light to sell 4G mobile chips to Huawei. The move is an exemption to the Trump administration’s ban on companies doing business with the Chinese company.


Although Qualcomm didn’t specify which products it’s granted permission to sell to Huawei, Reuters reports that they are connected to its mobile devices. Reuters also reports that Qualcomm’s license to sell to Huawei only covers 4G chips. However, it isn’t completely clear if the license would extend to 5G chips. The 5G chips would be vital to Huawei as it would need them to power its new devices.


“We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products,” a Qualcomm spokeswoman said.

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Huawei had, in August 2020, declared that it was running out of processor chips because of US sanctions. The CEO of its consumer business unit, Richard Yu had said; “this year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips”.


The Trump administration had, in May 2019, issued an executive order barring US companies from doing business with Chinese companies like Huawei due to national security concerns. The administration alleges that the company commits espionage on behalf of China, a claim it denies.


In May 2020, the US Commerce Department tightened the restrictions. This time, it required any overseas semiconductor manufacturers to get a license from the US if they used US equipment or technology in making the chips for Huawei. This is important for Huawei because, although it had a stockpile of chips, its stash may run out as soon as 2021.


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