The Wall Street Journal reports Huawei Manages to Make Smartphones Without American Chips.

American tech companies are getting the go-ahead to resume business with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co., but it may be too late: It is now building smartphones without U.S. chips.

Huawei’s latest phone, which it unveiled in September—the Mate 30 with a curved display and wide-angle cameras that competes with Apple Inc.’s iPhone 11—contained no U.S. parts, according to an analysis by UBS and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, a Japanese technology lab that took the device apart to inspect its insides.

In May, the Trump administration banned U.S. shipments to Huawei as trade tensions with Beijing escalated. That move stopped companies like Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. from exporting chips to the company, though some shipments of parts resumed over the summer after companies determined they weren’t affected by the ban.

Meanwhile, Huawei has made significant strides in shedding its dependence on parts from U.S. companies. (At issue are chips from U.S.-based companies, not those necessarily made in America; many U.S. chip companies make their semiconductors abroad.)

Huawei long relied on suppliers like Qorvo Inc., the North Carolina maker of chips that are used to connect smartphones with cell towers, and Skyworks Solutions Inc., a Woburn, Mass.-based company that makes similar chips. It also used parts from Broadcom Inc., the San Jose-based maker of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips, and Cirrus Logic Inc., an Austin, Texas-based company that makes chips for producing sound.

Yet Another Trump Trade Win

  • Trump cut off supplies so China looked elsewhere.
  • Trump changed his mind.
  • This is what constitutes a win.

When Huawei came out with this high-end phone—and this is its flagship—with no U.S. content, that made a pretty big statement,” said Christopher Rolland, a semiconductor analyst at Susquehanna International Group.

Huawei executives told Rolland that the company was moving away from American parts, but it was still surprising how quickly it happened.

This was likely going to happen anyway, but Trump escalated the speed at which it happened.

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