Huawei Technologies is reportedly working with French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics to co-design mobile and automotive-related chips as it seeks to shield itself from possible more tight export restrictions on the Chinese company from the U.S.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the collaboration with STMicro, which has been a chip supplier for Huawei, is also aimed at accelerating Huawei's autonomous driving development.
Among the first joint development projects is mobile-related chips for Huawei's Honor line of smartphones, according to the report.
Huawei braces for tighter U.S. restrictions that could include requiring key chip manufacturers, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to apply for licenses if using U.S. equipment to build chips for Huawei.
Partnering with STMicro on some chips, rather than designing them mainly in-house and ordering their production directly from contract chipmakers, could help shield Huawei from a U.S. crackdown.
The collaboration also enables Huawei to secure access to the latest software from Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems needed for the design of advanced chips.
STMicro declined to comment, while Huawei did not comment beyond earlier public remarks by Xu warning of widespread disruption if further restrictions are put in place. Xu also said his company could buy chips from Samsung Electronics and many others if its supplies from TSMC were threatened.
STMicro specializes in sensor chips, such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, motion, optical and image sensors. It is also a leading automotive chip provider, alongside Infineon, NXP and Renesas Electronics.
STMicro has its own chipmaking plants in France, Italy and Singapore, but it also outsources chip orders to semiconductor manufacturers like TSMC and others.