On September 4, Huawei Technologies and China’s leading chip manufacturer, SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp), unveiled a groundbreaking achievement in the world of semiconductor technology. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of an advanced 7-nanometer processor, a pivotal component powering Huawei’s latest smartphone, the Mate 60 Pro. This revelation comes from a comprehensive teardown report conducted by the respected analysis firm, TechInsights.
The Kirin 9000s chip, responsible for powering the Mate 60 Pro, represents a significant milestone in China’s efforts to establish a robust domestic chip ecosystem. Notably, it is the first processor to leverage SMIC’s cutting-edge 7nm technology. The fact that a Chinese firm has reached this level of technological sophistication signifies a noteworthy shift in the global semiconductor landscape.
While the Mate 60 Pro’s marketing materials highlighted its satellite call capabilities, they remained discreet about the chipset’s sheer power. This revelation about the advanced Kirin 9000s chip sheds light on the smartphone’s true potential, which extends far beyond communication.
What sets this development apart is its geopolitical implications. The United States has been applying restrictions on Huawei since 2019, severely limiting its access to critical chipmaking tools necessary for producing cutting-edge smartphone models. Consequently, Huawei could only release limited batches of 5G models using stockpiled chips. However, research firms have hinted at Huawei’s plans to make a comeback in the 5G smartphone industry by the end of the year.
This achievement, featuring Huawei’s own advancements in semiconductor design tools and cooperation with SMIC, represents a significant step towards that goal. It’s also seen as a bold statement to the United States, which has been seeking to cool tensions between the two nations. Dan Hutcheson, an analyst with TechInsights, aptly summarized the situation, describing this chip development as a “slap in the face” to the U.S., highlighting China’s growing autonomy and capabilities in the semiconductor industry.
Indeed, the launch of the Mate 60 Pro has sent waves across Chinese social media and has even drawn the attention of state media. Its release coincided with a visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, adding an additional layer of intrigue to this technological unveiling.
Furthermore, early adopters of the Mate 60 Pro in China have been sharing teardown videos and conducting speed tests on social media platforms. These tests indicate that the Mate 60 Pro is capable of achieving download speeds that surpass those of top-tier 5G smartphones currently available in the market, reinforcing the device’s technological prowess.
Huawei’s collaboration with SMIC to create the Kirin 9000s chip represents a significant milestone in China’s quest for semiconductor self-sufficiency. This achievement not only underscores China’s technological advancements but also sends a clear message to the United States about its capabilities in the semiconductor industry. The Mate 60 Pro’s unveiling has garnered widespread attention, both domestically and internationally, showcasing the growing significance of China’s contributions to the global technology landscape.