HSINCHU, Taiwan/TAIPEI -- The world's largest contract chipmaker has insisted it can continue delivering critical semiconductors to Huawei Technologies without triggering penalties from Washington's crackdown on the use of U.S. technology to supply the Chinese tech giant.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. became the first of Huawei's major suppliers to define the scale of its exposure to the new U.S. constraints, after taking advice from a leading U.S. law firm, which it declined to name.
TSMC said at a technology symposium on Thursday that while intellectual property and materials used for semiconductor development would be subject to U.S. restrictions on sales to Huawei, chipmaking equipment would not fall under the new rules. As a result, the chips would not breach rules requiring a license for sales to the Chinese company of products containing 25% or more U.S. technology.
Toshiba also said Thursday that it has resumed all shipments of electronic parts to Huawei. It did not say exactly what products it supplies to the Chinese company, but the list likely includes large-scale integration chips used to process large amounts of data at once.
The company had previously suspended certain shipments, but has now concluded that they do not violate restrictions imposed by the U.S.
Panasonic will continue shipping products that do not violate U.S. restrictions to Huawei. Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group will maintain its transactions with Huawei as well.
The news will give a big boost to Huawei, which has in recent days seen a number of suppliers including U.S. search giant Google, UK-based chip designer Arm Holdings, and Germany's Infineon halt certain deliveries and services for fear of violating the new rules. A number of telecom operators in Europe and Asia have also announced they will not sell Huawei's new smartphones due uncertainty over access to Google's Android operating system.
The serial announcements have raised questions over Huawei's ability to maintain its position as the world's largest telecom equipment supplier and the second-largest smartphone maker. The Chinese company has said it began preparing a backup plan several months ago -- stockpiling inventory and expanding capacity with alternative suppliers -- which is now being implemented. Read more