Categories
Equipment Huawei

Huawei Equipment Will Now Be Banned From UK’s 5G Network – NPR

The British government has announced that starting next year, telecommunications companies would be banned from buying Huawei equipment for the U.K.’s 5G network. Existing Huawei equipment will need to be removed by 2027.

Leon Neal/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Leon Neal/Getty Images

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Months after approving some limited involvement by the Chinese technology giant Huawei in constructing the U.K.’s next-generation wireless data network, British regulators reversed course Tuesday.

Beginning in January, U.K. regulators will implement a ban on telecom operators buying Huawei equipment. Existing Huawei 5G equipment will need to be removed from the U.K.’s 5G network by 2027.

The decision comes after relations between the U.K. and China declined sharply over China’s actions in Hong Kong, and in the face of a potential rebellion by parliamentarians from the U.K.’s ruling Conservative party who are concerned about the security implications of Chinese involvement in the 5G rollout.

But it also follows sustained U.S. pressure on the U.K. and other European countries to exclude Huawei from 5G development. The U.S. says Huawei’s equipment can be used for espionage by Beijing, and it has threatened to withhold intelligence from its allies that continued to use Huawei products.

In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “With this decision, the UK joins a growing list of countries from around the world that are standing up for their national security by prohibiting the use of untrusted, high-risk vendors.”

Some Huawei equipment is already integrated into various networks throughout the U.K. But it won’t remain for long. “It is necessary and indeed prudent to commit to a timetable for the removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G network by 2027,” Oliver Dowden, the U.K. Culture Secretary, told the House of Commons on Tuesday, adding that the requirement will be added to the Telecoms Security Bill.

“By the time of the next election, we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks,” Dowden said.

The British government says it decided upon the ban in response to new U.S. sanctions imposed on Huawei in May. As part of those sanctions, companies around the world were blocked from using U.S.-made software or machinery to design Huawei equipment. That, in turn, makes it harder for Huawei to produce new products, Dowden said.

“Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the U.K. can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment,” Dowden said. The ban on Huawei equipment is expected to delay 5G rollout in the U.K. by at least two years, and add up to two billion pounds to the cost of the new network, he added.

In a statement, Huawei said the decision would hurt anyone in the U.K. who uses a mobile phone. “It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide,” spokesperson Ed Brewster said. “Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized,” he added, asking the government to reconsider. “This is about US trade policy and not security.”

In January, the U.K. announced it would allow Huawei to build part of its 5G network, despite pressure from the U.S. At the time, a senior Trump administration official told NPR the administration was disappointed by the decision.

“There is no safe option for untrusted vendors to control any part of a 5G network,” the official said. “We look forward to working with the U.K. on a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components from 5G networks.”

But when the U.S. imposed its sanctions this spring, that made it more difficult for Huawei to obtain chips and semiconductors for use in their products, said Ian Levy, the technical director for Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre.

“So, it seems that Huawei’s long term ability to build products using state-of-the-art technology has been severely affected,” Levy said. “We think that Huawei products that are adapted to cope with the [rule] change are likely to suffer more security and reliability problems because of the massive engineering challenge ahead of them, and it will be harder for us to be confident in their use.”

Read More

Categories
Huawei loses

Huawei CFO loses major battle in extradition fight as U.S.-China tensions escalate – CNBC

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., leaves the Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

Trevor Hagan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou lost a major legal battle in her fight against extradition to the U.S. to stand trial on fraud charges.

In the Wednesday ruling, the Supreme Court of British Columbia found that the case against Meng meets a standard called “double criminality,” where the acts the U.S has accused her of are also illegal in Canada. The next phase of proceedings will begin next month. 

Diplomatic tensions are rising as Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, will have to remain in Vancouver on bail during a lengthy extradition process. 

Shortly after the court’s decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Canada to release Meng immediately and ensure her return to China. The Global Times, which is aligned with the Communist Party of China, blamed the U.S. for the ruling, saying Canada’s judicial and diplomatic independence has fallen to “U.S. bullying.” 

Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunication supplier, has been a flashpoint for the Trump administration’s trade battles with China. Shortly after Meng was arrested in December 2018, President Trump weighed in on the extradition case, telling Reuters he might consider “intervening” in the case if it would help the U.S.- China trade war. On Wednesday afternoon, legislation calling for sanctions against China passed both houses of Congress; President Trump has not said whether he intends to sign it into law.

The U.S. Commerce Department has also targeted Huawei. It blocked shipments of semiconductors to the company from chip-makers. That followed the administration’s move to keep Huawei on the U.S. Entity List, a blacklist that restricts American firms doing business with the company. The ban is hitting Huawei’s bottom line. The company reported it saw slowing revenue growth in 2019

Huawei said it was “disappointed” in the ruling and maintained Meng’s innocence.

Meng is due back in court June 15.

Read More

Categories
Huawei strikes

U.S. strikes at a Huawei prize: chip juggernaut HiSilicon – Reuters.com

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The latest U.S. government action against China’s Huawei takes direct aim at the company’s HiSilicon chip division — a business that in a few short years has become central to China’s ambitions in semiconductor technology but will now lose access to tools that are central to its success.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag and a smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration taken January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

That could make it the most damaging U.S. attack yet against a Chinese company that U.S. officials told reporters Wednesday functioned as a “tool of strategic influence” for the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for its part denounced the U.S. allegations and called the new measures “arbitrary and pernicious.”

Established in 2004, HiSilicon develops chips mostly for Huawei, and for most of its existence has been an afterthought in a global chip business dominated by U.S., Korean and Japanese companies. Like most electronics firms, Huawei relied on others for the chips that powered its equipment.

But heavy investment in research and development helped drive rapid progress at HiSilicon, and in recent years the 7,000-employee unit has been central to Huawei’s rise as a dominant player in the global smartphone business and the emerging 5G telecom networking business.

HiSilicon’s Kirin smartphone processor is now considered to be on par with those created by Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) —a rare example of an advanced Chinese semiconductor product that competes globally.

HiSilicon is also central to Huawei’s leadership in 5G, stepping into the breach when the United States cut off access to some U.S. chips last year.

In March, Huawei revealed that 8% of the 50,000 5G base stations it sold in 2019 came with no U.S. technology, using HiSilicon chipsets instead.

But the U.S. export control rule, first reported by Reuters last week, aims to block HiSilicon’s access to two crucial tools: chip design software from U.S. firms including Cadence Design Systems Inc (CDNS.O) and Synopsys Inc (SNPS.O), and the manufacturing prowess of “foundries,” led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW), that build chips for many of the world’s top semiconductor firms.

With the new restrictions,HiSilicon “will be in a situation where they’re not able to manufacture chips at all, or if they do, then they’re not leading edge anymore,” says Stewart Randall, who tracks China’s chip industry at Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink.

Without its own processors, Huawei will lose its edge over domestic smartphone rivals, analysts said. International sales had already been gutted by a ban on the use of key Google software.

Industry sources say Huawei has stockpiled chips, and the new U.S. rule will not go into full force for 120 days. U.S. officials also note that licenses could be granted for some technologies. HiSilicon can also keep using design software it has already acquired.

HILSILICON IN TOUGH SPOT

Still, analysts agree HiSilicon is in a tough spot. Nearly all chip factories globally — including China’s leading foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (0981.HK) — buy gear from the same equipment makers, led by U.S. firms Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O), Lam Research Corp (LRCX.O) and KLA Corp (KLAC.O).

The new U.S. rule requires licenses for companies using U.S. machinery to build Huawei-designed chips and delivered to the Chinese firm. To be sure, the new rule will not catch items shipped to a third party, allowing HiSilicon’s fabricators like TSMC the ability to ship chips to HiSilicon’s device manufacturers who can send them directly to a customer.

While there are alternatives to American machines – Japan’s Tokyo Electron Ltd (8035.T), for example, makes gear that competes with Applied Materials – replacing U.S. technology is not as simple as swapping out a machine.

“You almost have to think about it like a heart transplant,” said VLSI Research Chief Executive Dan Hutcheson, noting that chip production lines are finely calibrated systems where everything has to work well together.

Doug Fuller of the City University of Hong Kong said Huawei had a few options. It could slip around the rule by having suppliers ship directly to Huawei customers, though the U.S. officials said they would be vigilant about such workarounds.

FILE PHOTO: A Kunpeng 920 chip designed by Huawei’s Hisilicon subsidiary bearing the internal name of Hi1620 is on display during a launch event at the Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Sijia Jiang/File Photo

Huawei and the Chinese government could re-double efforts to build production capabilities that did not require U.S. tools, by investing in nascent Chinese competitors and buying from Japanese and Korean firms, even if that required quality sacrifices.

Or Huawei could turn away from HiSilicon and revert to buying from overseas suppliers — just not American ones. “There’s talk of Huawei just turning to Samsung processors,” for its smartphone, said Fuller.

(This story corrects name of university in paragraph 16)

Reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Lisa Shumaker

Read More