Reaching an important milestone, Huawei is ready to "fight" with iPhone 16

 The latest reports show that Huawei's next high-end smartphone will come with an advanced 5nm chip from SMIC.

Back in 2020, the US Department of Commerce changed export rules to prevent foundries using US technology from shipping advanced chips to Huawei. As a result, even when Qualcomm was given Snapdragon chips for the P50, Mate 50 and P60 models, they still had to be tweaked to not work with 5G networks.

Huawei Mate70 will be equipped with a 5nm chip manufactured by TSMC?

In August last year, Huawei stunned the world when it introduced the Mate 60 Pro equipped with the first homegrown chip since 2020, specifically the Kirin 9000S. Because the Kirin 9000S can support 5G, it is the first time since the Mate 40 series launched in 2020 that Huawei has the ability to produce smartphones that support 5G.

However, the Kirin 9000S is manufactured using SMIC's 7nm process, so it does not have as many transistors as the A17 Pro application processor (AP) chip used by Apple for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Manufactured on TSMC's 3nm process, the A17 Pro is equipped with 19 billion transistors compared to the 8.5 billion transistors inside the 7nm A13 Bionic found on the iPhone 11 series.

Although Huawei is currently capable of producing 5G chips, at the 7nm process, its chips are still behind the 3nm process used to produce chips for Apple, Qualcomm and MediaTek later this year.

SMIC's production of 5nm chips will be a remarkable achievement.

With SMIC and Huawei banned from purchasing the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines needed to etch extremely thin lines on silicon wafers cut into chip dies, many thought it was impossible for Huawei to get its hands on cutting-edge 7nm chips.

Now, the latest report from X user @jasonwill101 suggests that SMIC has completed preparations for 5nm chip manufacturing using older deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography machines. This makes this an impressive milestone for the two Chinese companies.

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The difficulty for Huawei is that SMIC is expected to charge more for its 5nm manufacturing process because using DUV machines to produce such advanced semiconductors will yield lower yields and require a lot of effort. than. Even if SMIC can reach 5nm with DUV, the real question is how can they achieve 3nm and even higher without EUV machines?

The parameters are expected to be present on the 5nm chip from Huawei.

Last month, a report said Huawei had filed a patent for a technology called self-aligned quadrilateral patterning (SAQP) lithography that could help the company achieve 3nm chips. But even if that happens, leading chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung Foundry are already moving toward 2nm in the second half of 2025.

Returning to the 5nm chip that SMIC successfully developed, if the company can manufacture this chip in 2024, the chip is expected to come to Huawei's Mate70 series when launched later this year. That will be a product that helps the Chinese company continue to compete with the iPhone 16 series, just like what Mate60 did with the iPhone 15 series last year.

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