Qualcomm reportedly wants the Trump administration to allow sales of its Snapdragon mobile chips to Huawei.
The report comes from the Wall Street Journal (via 9to5Google) and follows Huawei’s recent confirmation that it would no longer use it’s in-house Kirin processors. Due to the U.S. ban on the China-based phone maker, Huawei’s contractors will no longer take orders to build Kirin chips.
According to the WSJ, Qualcomm wants Trump to lift certain restrictions on Huawei so it can provide the company with 5G chipsets. Further, the WSJ indicated Qualcomm wants to take advantage of potential “$8 billion” USD (about $10.7 billion CAD) in orders from Huawei. Along with that, a Qualcomm deal could prevent “two foreign competitors” from getting the contract instead. Those competitors are likely MediaTek and Samsung.
At the core, Qualcomm argues that the U.S. government should exempt Qualcomm from parts of the Huawei ban since it would potentially allow a massive deal between the two companies and help the U.S.-based chipmaker develop new technology.
The U.S. ban on Huawei placed the company on an ‘entity list.’ Any U.S. company, or companies that use U.S. components, must get a special licence from the government to sell to Huawei and other companies on the entity list.
While there’s certainly an opportunity here for Qualcomm if it convinces the U.S. to exempt it from some ban restrictions, I doubt the company would land a deal with Huawei.
Huawei already works with MediaTek on chipsets for its Honor sub-brand, so there may be precedent for the two to work together for Huawei phones too. Samsung’s Exynos chips could also be an option. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Huawei ramp up an entirely in-house chip too. Arguably the main benefit of going with Qualcomm chips would be that they’re better liked in North America. Considering how many currently view Huawei, I’m not sure that benefit would carry much weight.