Report: Samsung Display, Sony, and OmniVision secure Huawei trade licenses

Huawei first quarter results, 2020.

Asian Nikkei recently reported Sony and OmniVision received a license from the U.S. government to resume trading with Huawei. Similarly, Reuters noted Samsung’s display division had secured Washington’s consent to provide the Chinese firm with its products.

Financial Times also published a story claiming the American officials will authorize chipmakers to supply Huawei with non-advanced components.

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued new rules in September that would penalize companies for selling parts to Huawei without its approval.

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Sony, Samsung Display, and OmniVision Can Trade with Huawei

After receiving U.S. government approval, Sony can now supply Huawei with its smartphone cameras without being sanctioned. Although the electronics giant is based in Japan, it utilizes American derived technology to fabricate its components. For that reason, it needed to secure a trade license before selling products to the telecom corporation.

Samsung Display also purportedly won Commerce Department approval to supply Huawei with its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.

OmniVision, an imaging chip vendor, gained Washington’s go-ahead to sell sensors to Huawei. Though headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the firm is owned by a consortium of Chinese investment groups. By securing an export control exemption, it can do business without provoking action from U.S. authorities.

Because of those developments, the Chinese conglomerate will be able to keep its smartphone business alive. Before the Commerce Department enacted its new restrictions, it reportedly stockpiled the chipsets necessary to power its handsets. But the company admitted it was quickly going through its inventory of high-end phone processors this summer.

Sony, Samsung Display, and OmniVision’s new licenses do not address Huawei’s smartphone central processing unit (CPU) shortage. That said, their components will enable the mobile device vendor to continue assembling handsets with its remaining processors.

Currently, none of the above-listed companies have publicly confirmed they obtained U.S. trade licenses.

More Trade Licenses Forthcoming?

According to Financial Times, the Commerce Department informed unnamed chipmakers it is willing to approve their dealing with Huawei. However, the agency noted the components sold to the Chinese firm could not be 5G compatible.

With that condition, Washington would further its goal of preventing Huawei from obtaining advanced American derived semiconductor technology. At the same time, the move would be hugely beneficial to the companies that previously served as part of the telecom’s supply chain.

As of this writing, the Commerce Department has not made an official statement about issuing new trade licenses. On the other hand, Washington reportedly authorized Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) to sell certain chips to Huawei.

Provided the U.S. government is offering manufacturers latitude to deal with the Chinese conglomerate, it would bolster the global component industry. In 2019, Huawei spent an estimated $18.7 billion buying products from U.S. firms and $10.4 billion on Japanese semiconductors. Even a portion of that capital could cultivate significant expansion if directed to the semiconductor sector.

Since the cash infusion would likely result in groundbreaking new technological solutions being developed, that outcome would be ideal.


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