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Huawei can’t even get 4G chips for its phones from US companies anymore

The US ban on Huawei has had massive impacts on the Chinese company over the past couple of years, effectively taking down what was once the second-biggest smartphone brand on the planet. Now, the US is taking things up a notch, and cutting off Huawei from 4G chips for its phones, too.

Since the export ban first took effect, Huawei has been unable to source 5G-capable smartphone chips from US companies including Qualcomm. The restriction has put a tight squeeze on the company’s smartphone efforts, though Qualcomm was allowed to sell 4G-capable versions of its chips to Huawei since 2020.

Reuters reports that the US has stopped granting export licenses to US companies looking to send items to Huawei, which now includes chips below the 5G level. This includes 4G chips, as well as chips that support Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6, as well as “artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing,” as well as “cloud items.”

The move could prove a death knell to Huawei’s smartphone business, which was already struggling to make due. Huawei sold off its sub-brand, Honor, in 2020 to allow that brand to keep making smartphones that can use 5G chips and even the Google Play Store. The company also launched an Android fork in 2021 called “HarmonyOS” which was pitched as a way to go without the Play Store and Google apps.

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