The semiconductor inside Huawei's Qingyun L540 notebook, initially thought to be a product of China's domestic technological advancement, has been found to be manufactured by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). In a recent teardown discovery by TechInsights, the Kirin 9006C processor, which employs 5nm technology, was dismantled and thoroughly investigated, revealing its true origins.
TechInsights' Analysis Sheds Light
TechInsights, a testing group known for their in-depth analyses, has unpacked the details surrounding the alleged Chinese-made semiconductor, showcasing that the Kirin 9006C is indeed a TSMC-crafted component. Their analysis bases its findings on the similarities between the Kirin 9000 and the processor found in the Qingyun L540, with their study focusing on the back end of line (BEOL) stack and process node, which matches the ones previously identified in the Kirin 9000.
The scrutinized processor was originally packaged in the 35th week of 2020, suggesting that Huawei may have stockpiled TSMC-produced components prior to the intensification of US sanctions. These findings significantly quell rumors and speculations that China's semiconductor manufacturing capabilities, particularly those of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co. (SMIC), had improbably leapfrogged to the forefront of 5nm technology development.
Huawei and the Semiconductor Landscape
The revelation comes after various speculations around China's SMIC, who had reportedly commenced production of a 7nm system on chip utilized by Huawei's Mate 60 Pro smartphone. The progress was notable due to the US sanctions aimed at impeding China's semiconductor industry from obtaining technology necessary to produce such advanced microchips.
Further regulatory measures by the United States have seen both Biren and Moore Threads, two burgeoning GPU vendors from China, being added to the US Commerce Department's “Entities List.” These developments stress the ongoing restrictions facing Chinese companies in their efforts to advance in the semiconductor space.
Huawei, which has been a central figure in the US-China technology competition, has not provided comments on the origin of the L540's processor at this time. The company's reliance on external suppliers like TSMC for cutting-edge silicon highlights the complexities and interdependencies in the global semiconductor supply chain.
The semiconductor industry and its associated manufacturing technologies remain a sensitive and strategic asset in both economic and national security discussions. Developments such as these underscore the need for transparency and accuracy in understanding the capacities and affiliations of global technology providers.