Oppo, Xiaomi, Unisoc, and every other Chinese consumer goods company interested in building their own SoC must ensure that the foundry they choose does not comply with US export rules. The best way to make sure it does is to have tech companies headquartered in China stay away from foundries that use American technology. Currently, only TSMC and Samsung, both of which use US technology, produce chips in 5nm mode.
While the US said at the time that the penalties Huawei imposed over the past two years were necessary for security reasons, both the US and China remain in an ugly trade war that has pushed the pandemic into the background. At this time, it doesn’t seem like the Biden team has plans to reverse Huawei’s placement on the entity list and revised export rules for chip shipments.
Oppo and Xiaomi fear a repetition of the US actions against Huawei and are turning to the in-house production of chipsets
Last year Oppo hired some top executives from MediaTek, currently the world’s largest chip designer for smartphones. Oppo also reportedly spoke to executives from Qualcomm and Huawei. Anything is possible in a competitive company like the smartphone industry, including poaching executives from competing companies.
Oppo is one of several Chinese companies looking to make chips in-house
By using SoCs that they have developed themselves, phone manufacturers gain greater control over the functions of their phones and can improve the user experience and even optimize battery life. Apple is one of the smartphone makers that develops its own chips and relies on a contract foundry to build the component. Apple uses TSMC for this task and is now the latter’s largest customer.
There are two main types of flash memory chips: NOR flash and NAND flash. Due to the scarcity of supply and high demand for chips, the Digitime report found that customers of NOR Flash chip manufacturers based in Taiwan are now more eager to sign long-term supply contracts. The chip shortage was caused by the pandemic, which has resulted in more than expected demand for tablets, and automobile production is currently recovering.
This year, the world’s two largest foundries, TSMC and Samsung, started shipping chips made using the 5nm process, which allows more transistors to fit into a square inch. Using Apple as an example, the A13 Bionic, which powers the 2018 and 2019 iPhone lines, was manufactured using the 7 nm process. This process node fit nearly 90 million transistors into one square centimeter and enabled the chip to hold 8.5 billion transistors.