HUAWEI HiSilicon 2020 Life and Death Tribulation: If it is not for the rebirth, it is the rebirth of Nirvana


Yes, Huawei’s IFA2020 speech in Berlin, Germany on September 3rd, there was almost no dazzling announcement. If in previous years, Yu Chengdong would personally attend, and then confidently announce the latest generation of Kirin SoC processors to the world-of course, behind this is mainly the credit of Huawei’s HiSilicon.

Indeed, Huawei’s performance at IFA this year is a bit disappointing, although almost everyone knows why.

In fact, HiSilicon has been forced to a dead end by the United States.

Especially with the approaching of the US ban grace deadline on September 15, the fate of Haisi is even more worrying.

The highlight moment of HiSilicon

Since the US added Huawei to the “Entity List” in May 2019, HiSilicon has been in the spotlight, and the Kirin SoC, which is strongly related to the smartphone business, is the top priority.

Of course, later time proved that under the US ban, Huawei could no longer continue to use Google GMS in the smartphone business (for this reason Huawei was forced to launch HMS), but the chips designed by HiSilicon can still be foundry through TSMC. , Which naturally also includes the Kirin 990 SoC mobile phone processor chip that was foundry using TSMC’s 7nm EUV process last year.

Therefore, at the IFA exhibition last year, Huawei’s Kirin 990 SoC was officially released, which can be said to have earned enough attention.

From the later situation, including the Huawei Mate30 series and the Huawei P40 series launched at the beginning of this year, Huawei and its sub-brand Honor use a large number of Kirin series SoC chips built by HiSilicon, including the Kirin 990. , Kirin 820, Kirin 810 and Kirin 985, etc.

With the support of Kirin chips, Huawei (including Honor) has a strategic location in the Chinese smartphone market and can be said to be the only one.

Taking the Q3 share report of the Chinese smartphone market released by market research agency Canalys at the end of October last year as an example, Huawei (including the Honor brand) smartphone shipments reached 41.5 million units, an increase of 66% year-on-year, and the market share is as high as 42.4%-but at the same time, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and Apple decreased by 23%, 20%, 23% and 28% year-on-year.

Simply put, Huawei’s strength in the mobile phone business has greatly imbalanced the Chinese smartphone market.

In the next two quarters, namely Q4 in 2019 and Q1 in 2020, according to Canalys data, Huawei was once again “a little bit red in the tens of thousands of flowers”. With the four manufacturers falling, only Huawei achieved its smartphone business year-on-year. Growth-Even in the worst case of China’s epidemic in Q1 2020, Huawei’s smartphone business still achieved a year-on-year growth rate of 1%.

Of course, the strong performance of Huawei’s smart phone business in China has also ushered in a bright moment for HiSilicon.

Specifically, according to the monthly semiconductor industry report released by the domestic analysis agency CINNO Research at the end of April this year, Huawei HiSilicon’s share of China’s smartphone processor market reached 43.9%, surpassing Qualcomm’s 32.8%-this historically, This is the first time.

You must know that in 2019, Qualcomm’s share was 48.1%, while HiSilicon’s share was only 24.3%. The former was almost twice the latter. As a result, one year later, HiSilicon surpassed Qualcomm by virtue of the rising power of Huawei’s mobile phone business.

This is an overly dazzling result.

According to the analysis of CINNO Research, HiSilicon’s stable shipments and surpassed Qualcomm are closely related to Huawei’s increasing efforts to adopt HiSilicon processors in mobile phones. In Q1 of 2020, this proportion has exceeded 90%. In any case, at least in the Kirin SoC, Huawei’s HiSilicon semiconductor business and the smartphone business have formed a good mutual promotion relationship, and the former uses the latter to reach its peak.

It is worth mentioning that in the first half of 2020, including Kirin, HiSilicon’s overall business will usher in another major milestone.

According to the ranking of the top ten semiconductor manufacturers in the first half of 2020 announced by the semiconductor market research company IC Insights in mid-August, Huawei HiSilicon achieved an annual revenue growth of 49%, ranking tenth-this is also Huawei HiSilicon Ranked among the world’s top ten semiconductor manufacturers for the first time in history.

HiSilicon was forced to a dead end

Of course, for the title of the world’s tenth largest semiconductor manufacturer, Huawei HiSilicon may not have any mood to celebrate.

Because on May 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an announcement stating that Huawei “destroyed” the list of entities, so it is necessary to restrict Huawei from using American technology software to design and produce semiconductors—obviously, this is an administrative action against HiSilicon. The order, especially the prohibition of TSMC’s foundry for HiSilicon, is extremely lethal.

At the same time, in order to avoid the impact on related semiconductor equipment companies and fabs, products that have been produced in accordance with Huawei’s design specifications on May 15, 2020, will not be affected for shipments to Huawei within 120 days after this regulation takes effect.

Therefore, after September 15th, TSMC will not be able to OEM for HiSilicon.

On August 7, at the 2020 Summit of the China Information Technology Association of 100, Huawei’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong said:

We will launch Mate40 (series) this fall, equipped with Kirin 9000 chips, which will use more powerful 5G capabilities, AI processing capabilities, more powerful NPUs and GPUs, but unfortunately the second round of sanctions, our chip sanctions only accepted Orders before September 15, so this year may be our last generation of high-end Huawei Kirin chips.

Yu Chengdong also said that in terms of semiconductors, Huawei will take root in all directions and break through the basic research and precision manufacturing of physics materials.

This is a rare occasion for Huawei executives to talk publicly about the fate of HiSilicon under US sanctions.

Of course, for HiSilicon’s business, the influence of the US government is immediate. In July and August, some netizens on Zhihu broke the news anonymously. Many HiSilicon employees were transferred to their posts, and they were all originally designed to do low-level software development. There were also reports that basically only single-board hardware and Several positions such as the bottom soft can be selected, basically have nothing to do with IC.

There are also whistleblowers claiming that the company he works for has significantly reduced the supply of HiSilicon chips.

On August 20, Digitimes reported that the ever-increasing trade sanctions in the United States are pushing HiSilicon to the brink. Many engineers have left the team of Huawei’s IC design department in Taiwan.

In addition, according to a report from Aiji Micro, a team member of Huawei’s chip design business HiSilicon revealed that “many people have left, and those are top-notch people.” “When they leave, they are low-key. If they are too high-key, they can easily be sanctioned by the United States.”

Of course, in fact, on the one hand, HiSilicon has been reported to be layoffs or transfer jobs, but on the other hand, there are also some media reports that HiSilicon is also continuing to recruit people. The recruitment positions include chip and device design engineers, structure and Material engineer, hardware technical engineer…

In any case, HiSilicon is undoubtedly hit hard.

It is worth noting that according to the second quarter 2020 revenue and rankings of the world’s top ten IC design companies released by the research organization TrendForce, HiSilicon’s revenue has dropped out of the world’s top ten in the second quarter of 2020. ——The report pointed out that Huawei’s HiSilicon is affected by the continuous upgrade of the US Department of Commerce’s ban, and the chip self-sufficiency of Huawei’s product lines is also affected.

This is not an unexpected result.

It is worth mentioning that not only HiSilicon, but Huawei’s own business has also been forced to a dead end. After all, in mid-August, the United States has issued another ban to prohibit Huawei from buying chips made by foreign manufacturers using American technology. It only cuts off the way for Huawei HiSilicon chips to ship, and also blocks the possibility of Huawei buying chips from other manufacturers.

In addition, the latest news said that Huawei’s Kirin 9000 chip inventory is about 10 million pieces, which can support about 6 months.

summary

A powerful country’s blow to an enterprise is destined to be nothing fair.

This is a huge historical conflict. Both Huawei and HiSilicon are only substitutes for being forced to step onto the stage of history in this conflict.

Despite this, in the strong desire to survive, Huawei’s smartphone business and HiSilicon both ushered in a bright moment in the first half of this year; but the historical changes are unpredictable. With the United States again making a fatal blow, Huawei has not To choose, you can only make a choice without a choice-to carry on.

Huawei Chairman Guo Ping said that he will continue to invest in HiSilicon; he also said that there will be a stronger HiSilicon in a few years.

If it were not for the rebirth, it would be the rebirth of Nirvana.

After all, it does not kill you will only make you stronger (What does not kill you makes you stronger).

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