Intel receives Commerce Dept. license to sell to Huawei

Non-U.S. firms may have a harder time than U.S. firms getting Commerce Department approval. (Getty Images)

On August 17 the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the U.S. Commerce Department issued a new foreign direct product rule that requires companies to request a license from the Commerce Department in order to sell their products to Huawei. “We expanded the license requirement for products made with U.S. technology, worldwide,” a BIS spokesperson recently told Fierce, adding that the requirements went into effect on September 15.

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Now, Reuters is reporting that Intel has confirmed receiving such licenses to continue supplying certain products to Huawei.

Reuters has been able to confirm through its sources that others applying for Commerce Department licenses include China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), which uses U.S.-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei. And the South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix as well as the Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek have also applied for U.S. licenses to sell to Huawei.

Last week, the China-based news outlet Caixen reported that a number of major chipmakers had applied for licenses to sell to Huawei.

But each chipmaker will have to disclose whether or not it obtained licenses because the Commerce Department spokesperson said, “We cannot disclose any licensing information per federal law.”

U.S. based Qualcomm did not immediately respond to a request, confirming whether it had applied for and/or received a license to sell to Huawei.

Non-U.S. firms may have a harder time getting Commerce Department approval.

Earlier this year when delivering the company's annual report, one of Huawei's Rotating Chairmen Eric Xu said if the Trump administration further restricted the supply of semiconductor chips to the company, Huawei could look to chipsets from suppliers in China, Korea and Taiwan. But the Commerce Department's latest move seem intended to close off that avenue.

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Xu also said in the longer term “if Huawei was denied access to chip manufacturing, I believe there would be many Chinese companies that would start working on chipsets.”