Huawei Reportedly “Taped” Identities of Motherboard Suppliers at MWC
Huawei disguised the identities of its suppliers on the motherboards of the new servers it showed off at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by using masking tape and special fans.
Huawei still makes a tonne of money off of selling servers and communication equipment in China and a few other nations, but it requires processors to make those products. Suppliers providing chips to Huawei or its subsidiaries in the United States must get the necessary licences from the U.S. Department of Commerce in order to do business with the company.
This is because almost all modern chips, whether logic or memory ICs, are designed using electronic design automation (EDA) tools developed in the United States and fabricated on equipment including technology pioneered in the United States.
Nevertheless, obtaining such licenses is difficult, which is why Huawei is probably forced to purchase chips from the underground market or resort to convoluted tactics to get hardware from its engineers. Images posted on Twitter by Jay Goldberg, a 5G, IoT, and networking expert focusing on China, reveal that in both situations, the corporation seeks to conceal what it uses and who provides it from the public eye.
One of the boards not only conceals logic chips using a radiator or tape but even hides the supplier of memory ICs. Another board, which looks like a prototype of a 4-way server motherboard not only conceals marking on some of the chips but even does not carry processors, perhaps to guarantee that no one could guess their producer even if the board gets stolen.
After falling prey to the continuing trade war between the United States and China, Huawei is now required to get a licence from the United States Department of Commerce before purchasing any hardware or software from American firms or incorporating American-developed technology.
Due to a lack of access to sophisticated semiconductor fabrication outside of China, Huawei’s HiSilicon division was unable to make significant progress in developing advanced chips.
It turns out that Huawei can still get the processors it needs in other methods. In addition, the business is apparently collaborating with SMIC, also located in China but also hit hard by the U.S. sanctions, to construct a fab that can manufacture the chips and system-in-packages needed for producing its goods.
Many businesses apparently are attempting to get around US restrictions by designing their own machinery. With cutting-edge R&D, companies like Loongson, Biren, and Huawei are quickly broadening their product offerings.