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Qualcomm Gets Trade Ban Exemption to Sell Chips to Huawei



(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Qualcomm can once again sell 4G phone chips to Huawei.

Qualcomm received a license on Nov. 13 to sell “a number of products, which includes some 4G products,” to Huawei, a spokeswoman told Reuters, but Qualcomm declined to elaborate. It does not cover 5G chips, Reuters says, meaning its overall impact could be muted.

The move means Qualcomm is no longer subject to a US Commerce Department order that bans chip manufacturers from supplying Huawei with semiconductors or chip designs built with US software or technology. Commerce announced the restrictions on Huawei in May 2019, citing national security concerns, and then expanded their reach earlier this year.

Ahead of the trade ban, Huawei largely relied on in-house Kirin chips for its range of flagship phones and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors for its cheaper models. But despite a huge second quarter, Huawei struggled without access to US-made components. Huawei said this summer that it was running out of processors due to US sanctions, the AP reported, and would be forced to stop Kirin production.

Qualcomm isn’t the only manufacturer with permission to sell to Huawei at the moment. According to Reuters, Intel currently has a license to sell to Huawei, and other firms like Micron Technology have applied for permission to do so as well.

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