Huawei launched a new Qingyuan L450 notebook in early December 2023 for the Chinese market and one of the centerpiece features is the new 5nm Kirin 9006C. This sparked rumors about China’s chip manufacturing capabilities and some thought that SMIC has made a big breakthrough by producing advanced 5nm silicon.
However, a teardown by Tech Insights put an end to the rumors as they found a TSMC-made chip at the heart of the Qinguyan L450. In fact, the SoC is based on an older, less efficient manufacturing process from 2020, suggesting Huawei is using old TSMC stockpiles of 5nm hardware.
There are still some reports going around that SMIC is working on a 5nm node of its own, but we still haven’t seen anything substantial.
Why is this making the news? Ever since US sanctions took place a few years ago, Huawei has been barred from using Western-made chip technologies for its devices. This has made it increasingly difficult for Huawei to stay afloat and it’s scrambling for chips to at least maintain its competitiveness on Chinese soil.