Intel Export License Allows It To Continue Selling To Huawei – Report

The ability of American chip manufacturers being able to export their semiconductors to Chinese, is once again in the news headlines.

Reuters reported a potential loophole in the US blacklisting of Huawei, with Intel being allowed to continue selling hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of chips to the Chinese telecoms giant, despite it being a heavily sanctioned Chinese company.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration had added Huawei to the US Entity List in May 2019.

Adding the firm to an export blacklist made it very difficult for Huawei to access components such as microprocessors that uses US design or manufacturing technology.

Entity list

Essentially, US firms had to apply for permission or a license to sell anything to Huawei, and certain other Chinese firms.

In January 2023 the US Commerce Department reportedly stopped providing export licenses for Huawei, and in October 2023 the Biden Administration tightened export controls on advanced AI semiconductors to China.

But according to the Reuters report, citing two people familiar with the matter, Intel so far has survived US efforts to halt hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of chip sales to Huawei.

According to that report, President Joe Biden has long been under pressure to revoke an export license that had been issued by the Trump administration, that allows Intel to ship advanced processors to Huawei for use in laptops.

That pressure reportedly came from Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices, which has allegedly indicated it was unfair that it did not receive a license to sell similar chips to Huawei.

The Reuters report noted that Intel’s ability to hang on to a license to sell chips while a rival could not obtain similar permission demonstrates the uneven and uncertain terrain companies face as the US seeks to limit Beijing’s access to sophisticated American technology, especially to a heavily sanctioned company like Huawei.

Intel license

Reuters reported that the US refusal to end Intel’s license has allowed Huawei to keep a small but growing share of the global laptop market.

At the same time, AMD has been deprived of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of sales to the Chinese sanctioned firm, data reportedly showed.

Reuters noted that in late 2020, just before former President Donald Trump left office, the US Commerce Department had granted some US Huawei suppliers – including Intel – special permission to sell certain items to the telecoms equipment giant.

AMD applied for a license to sell similar chips in early 2021 after President Joe Biden took office but never received a response to its application, a source told Reuters.

Reuters could not determine why Intel was granted its license and AMD was not.

But the impact on CPU chip sales to Huawei was reportedly immediate, with the share of sales of Huawei laptops containing AMD chips plunging from 47.1 percent in 2020 to 9.3 percent in the first half of 2023, an internal AMD presentation with data sourced to NPD and GfK apparently showed.

Reuters reported that Intel’s share of sales of Huawei laptops containing its chips soared during the period from 52.9 to 90.7 percent, according to the presentation.

That left the two companies with upwards of a $512 million dollar “estimated revenue discrepancy” by early 2023, according to the presentation.

Intel’s license is expected to expire later this year, and is unlikely to be renewed, sources told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Huawei continues to rely heavily on Intel chips for its laptops, its website shows.

Intel, Huawei, the Commerce Department and the White House reportedly declined to comment.

AMD did not respond to a request for comment, Reuters noted.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

EU Widens Investigations Into Chinese Imports, Subsidies

After the United States imposes 100 percent tariffs on certain Chinese goods, Europe widens its…

22 hours ago

Reddit Deal With OpenAI Gives ChatGPT Access To Content

OpenAI strikes deal with Reddit to train its AI tech on user posts and give…

23 hours ago

Microsoft Invests 4 Billion Euros In France For AI, Cloud

Global spending spree from Microsoft continues, with huge investment for new data centre to drive…

1 day ago

Toshiba Axes 4,000 Staff In Post-Delisting Restructuring Operation

Workforce blow. Newly privatised Toshiba has embarked on a 'revitalisation plan' that will entail the…

2 days ago

European Union Opens Child Safety Probe Into Meta

European Commission opens an official child safety investigation into Facebook and Instagram-owner Meta Platforms

2 days ago