Huawei commissioned the Shanghai IC R&D Center (IRCD) to set up and run a fab without American technology, the Financial Times reports. The facility would initially produce 45-nanometer chips, advancing to 28 nanometers by the end of next year and 20 nanometers by late 2022. These nodes could support products like smart TVs, IoT devices and possibly 5G telecom equipment. Huawei’s smartphone business needs more advanced chipsets, but there are signs that the US is easing restrictions with respect to mobile devices.
Following a tightening of US sanctions, reports about Huawei kickstarting an independent Chinese semiconductor ecosystem first surfaced mid-August. Both the company and IRCD declined to comment on the plans for the chip plant.