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Huawei unveils ‘revolutionary’ 5G chipset amid US pressure

Chinese telecom equipment makers such as Huawei and ZTE hope to dominate the global market for 5G mobile networks. © AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

BEIJING, Sep 7, 2019, Global Times. Chinese tech giant Huawei unveiled its latest high-end system-on-chip (SoC) 5G chipset, Kirin 990, on Friday in Beijing, which the company calls a new breakthrough amid the ongoing US crackdown, reported the Global Times.

The 7-narometer chipset, with 10.3 billion crystal valves, is the most powerful 5G SoC, which supports both 5G NSA and SA – two types of networks – and a “revolutionary breakthrough” in both 5G and artificial intelligence technologies, Richard Yu Chengdong, head of Huawei’s smartphone business, said at the launch ceremony at IFA in Berlin, which was live-streamed in Beijing.

The new chipset is expected to power its Mate 30 series, demonstrating its technological development roadmap not affected by the US ban, and also reaffirms the Chinese company’s 5G ambitions, analysts said.

The new chipset will feature an integrated 5G modem, laying the ground for the company’s flagship smartphone Huawei Mate 30 on September 19. The new product series is also widely believed to be proof of Huawei’s stronger core technologies when faced with political headwinds.

It shows Huawei has developed more integrated solutions to compete with Qualcomm and Samsung in 5G core technologies, and the launch of the new chipset is also critical for the Chinese market in the global 5G race, Neil Shah, an industry analyst at research institute Counterpoint, told the Global Times on Friday.

“This has been in development for the past two years, but I believe the US crackdown won’t affect the [Huawei] components’ product roadmap until next year,” he said.

With the Kirin 990, a 5G smartphone can reach an upload speed of 1.25 Gbps and download speed of 2.3 Gbps, as shown at the launch. It can help download a two-gigabyte song in a few seconds.

“Kirin 990 has long been in development, and as such is unaffected by the US entity listing,” Geoff Blaber, technology analyst at CCS Insight, told the Global Times on Friday.

Since Huawei dominates the domestic smartphone market with a more than 35 percent share, the new chipset will also accelerate the 5G smartphone roll-out while reducing product costs.

The forthcoming Mate 30 series is reportedly US chipset-free, showcasing the self-reliance of Huawei’s core technologies amid US crackdown.

When asked about how much the company still relies on chips produced by US companies, Huawei fellow Ai Wei did not directly address the question. “However, we always consider the continuous opening-up and innovation would help us deal with uncertainties and will not be restricted by others,” Ai told the Global Times.

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