Huawei, a prominent Chinese tech firm, has allegedly established a network of covert chip-making facilities across China, enabling the company to evade US sanctions, according to a report by the Semiconductor Industry Association, a leading association of semiconductor manufacturers. The Washington-based association stated that Huawei had received substantial state funding of around $30 billion and had acquired two existing plants while constructing three new facilities. These facilities are believed to be part of Huawei’s strategy to navigate around US sanctions.
The US commerce department added Huawei to its export control list in 2019 due to security concerns, thereby restricting many suppliers from exporting goods and technology to the company without proper licenses. To counter these restrictions, Huawei may be building these facilities under different company names, allowing it to indirectly purchase American chip-making equipment.
The Semiconductor Industry Association and Huawei did not respond immediately to requests for comments on these allegations.
Huawei’s involvement in chip production began last year as a means of reducing its reliance on foreign chip suppliers. The company has faced increasing restrictions on buying or designing semiconductor chips that power its products, largely due to concerns about its potential impact on national security.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations have taken a tough stance on China’s technological influence. In August of last year, President Biden signed the Chips Act, a $50 billion investment program aimed at boosting American semiconductor research, development, and production. The US currently produces about 10% of global microchip production and relies heavily on East Asia for the remaining 75%.
The ongoing tensions between the US and China continue to impact the global tech industry, with companies like Huawei at the center of these geopolitical and economic struggles.