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Arm talking to US government as restrictions on Huawei kick in




Arm Holdings has suspended provision of chip design technology to Chinese firm Huawei
Arm Holdings has suspended provision of chip design technology to Chinese firm Huawei

Arm is in "ongoing conversations" with the US government after suspending its supply of chip designs to Huawei following pressure from the Trump administration, which last week issued an executive order banning the sharing of technology with the Chinese technology giant.

“Arm is complying with the latest restrictions set forth by the US government and is having ongoing conversations with the appropriate US government agencies to ensure we remain compliant,” an Arm spokesperson said. “Arm values its relationship with our longtime partner HiSilicon and we are hopeful for a swift resolution on this matter.”

The spokesperson added: “Given the evolving nature of this matter, we’re in ongoing conversations with the appropriate US government agencies to ensure compliance. However, under the current restrictions Arm cannot license any export-restrictive IP to HiSilicon.”

Huawei, which fully owns Shenzhen-based fabless semiconductor company HiSilicon, was contacted for comment. A statement it issued said: "We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognise the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions. We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world."

Artist's impression of the planned Huawei R&D site on the old Spicers premises
Artist's impression of the planned Huawei R&D site on the old Spicers premises

The Chinese firm’s arrangements in the UK have also been the subject of a political row: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked this month for leaking the news that Huawei would be allowed into the country’s 5G network. Concerns were raised by the UK intelligence community about the decision.

Huawei Cambridge is currently based on Cambridge Science Park. Earlier this year it agreed to pay £37.5million for the 550-acre former Spicers site at Sawston. That development – which is thought to include a chip-manufacturing facility – is presumed to be going ahead. However, if it can't use US - or Cambridge - technology, its hopes of continuing as a smartphone maker will be placed under severe strain (although it is thought to have stockpiles of chips that will last up to a year).

Huawei Cambridge was invited but declined to contribute to this article.

The topic continues to challenge 5G champions in the city.

"The question is, as we build 5G can we put Huawei in?" said Eleanor Brash, head of marketing at CW, whose support for 5G is well established. "We've got to wait until the Government releases its supplier review at the start of the summer. That will include a detailed study of the security communications issue."

Henk Koopmans, chief executive officer at Huawei Technologies Research & Development (UK), talks to visitors at the Huawei public exhibition in Sawston at the Walnut Gallery, Sawston Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Henk Koopmans, chief executive officer at Huawei Technologies Research & Development (UK), talks to visitors at the Huawei public exhibition in Sawston at the Walnut Gallery, Sawston Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell

Meanwhile Arm continues to deliver novel solutions to intransigent technical barriers.

Rene Haas, president, IPG, Arm, said: “Over the past 12-plus months Arm has delivered several new solutions which scale from the edge of the network to the cloud. These include Arm’s Project Trillium, Arm Neoverse, two new automotive enhanced processors with new safety features, and our Pelion IoT platform for securely managing IoT devices.”

These new solutions highlight how Arm is investing to enable the convergence of 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous driving – Huawei or no Huawei.



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