Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) yesterday said that it would seek approval from the US government to continue supplying memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its third-largest client, as Washington is to step up curbs on the Chinese firm’s access to US technology from next month.
If unsuccessful in getting permission, Macronix said that it would stop shipping chips to Huawei from Monday next week.
There is only a slim hope of being granted approval before the US presidential elections in November, the company said.
“We will comply with all US rules and apply for permission to make the shipments,” Macronix chairman Miin Wu (吳敏求) said.
Macronix is soliciting orders from new customers to make up for losing Huawei’s, but there are sure to be ups and downs over the short term in terms of revenue, the company said.
The Hsinchu-based chipmaker supplies memory chips used in Huawei’s 5G base stations and high-density memory chips for other communications devices made by the Chinese firm.
Macronix counts other major telecommunications equipment makers among its customers, including China’s ZTE Corp (中興), and Japan’s NEC Corp and Nintendo Co. The company supplies NOR flash memory chips for Nintendo’s game consoles, which have become a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Macronix is confident about this quarter’s revenue.
“I believe the third-quarter results will not disappoint,” Wu said.
The firm’s revenue in the first eight months of the year rose 22.8 percent to NT$24.98 billion (US$846.23 million), up from NT$20.33 billion in the same period last year.
Regarding the firm’s outlook for next quarter, Wu said that it “is difficult to say now, given the uncertainty about Huawei.”
“It is likely that no contribution will come from Huawei in the fourth quarter,” Wu added.
If the US places Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯) on its entity list, SMIC’s production would be disrupted, leading to a supply crunch in NOR flash memory chips, Wu said.
SMIC, China’s biggest foundry, supplies NOR flash memory chips to Chinese firms, including Gigadevice Semiconductor Ltd (兆億創新), while Macronix is the world’s biggest supplier of NOR flash memory chips.
It is unlikely that China can boost its local chip supply to 70 percent of its total consumption by 2025, as the US still dominates semiconductor manufacturing technology and equipment supply, Wu said.
“China’s semiconductor industry is still in its infancy,” Wu said. “It will take time for China to build its own semiconductor supply chain.
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