It was the memory chips from the Korean company SK hynix in the latest smartphones of the Huawei Mate 60 series that caused confusion both among the manufacturer itself and among American regulators, which a few years ago banned Huawei from supplying such products. According to some sources, Huawei needs imported memory because domestic manufacturers’ products are not yet at this level.
This point of view is expressed in the publication DigiTimes, whose representatives explain that in practice, even after the imposition of sanctions in 2019-2020, Huawei Technologies did not stop receiving memory chips from foreign brands Samsung Electronics, SK hynix, Kioxia and even Micron Technology, whose headquarters are in the United States, through the remaining available channels. These products are included in Huawei smartphones and tablets released in the last three years.
In August 2020, US export controls came into force, banning any memory manufacturer using US technology from supplying Huawei with its products. The most interesting thing is that Chinese memory manufacturers YMTC and CXMT have met these requirements in order not to fall under US sanctions. At the same time, Huawei itself definitely preferred to purchase imported memory, so the refusal of cooperation from Chinese suppliers did not really upset the company.
Huawei continued to receive “banned” products from foreign memory manufacturers, both from old stocks formed before the sanctions came into effect and through various indirect routes through third countries and many intermediaries. The discovery of SK Hynix memory chips in the Mate 60 Pro smartphone surprised the manufacturer of these chips, proving the viability of such supply channels and, to some extent, the uselessness of trade sanctions in their current form.
Chinese memory manufacturers also suffer from general sanctions from the USA and its allies, so the level of their technological development inevitably lags behind Western competitors, although the same YMTC was able to literally get one step closer to them, but then also fell under a number of sanctions. In such a situation, Huawei prefers to source foreign components for its needs.