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Huawei ban: MediaTek applies to supply chips

Huawei Logo CES 2020

  • The US-led Huawei ban rules will get an update on September 15 that will close some loopholes.
  • MediaTek said on Friday that it has formally applied for permission to continue supplying chips to Huawei.
  • After September 15, if MediaTek doesn’t earn a license, Huawei will no longer be able to buy MediaTek chips.

Although it’s been well over a year since the Huawei ban first began, the drama seems to be neverending. Recently, Huawei admitted that it will no longer be able to produce its Kirin chipsets, which power all of its major smartphones. With Qualcomm and Samsung unavailable as alternative options due to the ban, it was assumed that Chinese company MediaTek would sell Huawei the silicon it needs.

Related: The Huawei ban explained: Everything you need to know

However, on September 15, 2020, the United States will close some loopholes in the ban that would prevent even MediaTek from working with Huawei. Today, MediaTek announced that it has formally submitted a request for a license to continue supplying Huawei with chips (via Reuters).

If the Trump administration denies the request, it’s unclear how Huawei would be able to move forward.

Huawei ban: The company needs processors

Obviously, Huawei can’t produce smartphones without processors. It can’t produce its own anymore and the only available major company that could produce silicon on the level it needs is MediaTek. If MediaTek doesn’t get its license, there’s no telling what might happen.

MediaTek today confirmed that it intends to follow the Huawei ban rules. “MediaTek reiterates its respect for following relevant orders and rules on global trade, and has already applied for permission with the US side in accordance with the rules,” it said in a statement.

Related: MediaTek chip guide: Everything you need to know

While that seems cut-and-dry, MediaTek and Huawei are both Chinese companies. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they could decide to ignore the ban and work together. After all, it is not likely China would punish either company for doing what it takes to keep Huawei afloat.

That’s all speculation at this point, but eventually, something’s gotta give. The United States is tightening the noose on Huawei ever tighter; it’s only a matter of time before something snaps.

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