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Huawei closes technology gap with Apple on chip design

Today, 08:15 AM

Huawei closes technology gap with Apple on chip design

Chinese 4G semiconductors already 'equal to or better than' US tech giant

SHUHEI YAMADA, Nikkei Asia Tech chief editor April 24, 2019 18:14 JST





A chip from Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon is displayed at the Huawei China Eco-Partner Conference in Fuzhou, Fujian province, on March 21. © Reuters


SHANGHAI/TOKYO -- Top Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies is closing the gap with Apple to develop some of the world's most advanced smartphone chips, on a par with those used in the U.S. tech giant's iconic iPhone, an independent analysis shows.


As the era of fifth-generation wireless networks begins, a break down of Huawei's Mate 20 Pro and Apple's iPhone XS -- both premium 4G smartphones -- shows that the Chinese company's main chip, combining processors and modems, is the equal of Apple-designed semiconductors.


The evidence suggests that in 5G chip technology Huawei could be capable of rivalling Qualcomm, the world leader in mobile chips, whose semiconductors are crucial to Apple's plans for a 5G iPhone. The Chinese company last week boasted it could supply 5G chips to Apple, which recently settled a long-running royalty dispute with Qualcomm.


Both Huawei and Apple-designed chips showed equally advanced features, according to an analysis by Tokyo-based teardown specialist, TechanaLye. Each had a line width of 7 nanometers. A thinner line width means the chips have greater computing and energy-saving capacities. Only three kinds of 7-nm chip were in practical use at the end of 2018, TechanaLye said.


Huawei's development capacity was "equal to or better than Apple's and occupies the world's top level," said TechanaLye CEO Hiroharu Shimizu, a former senior technology executive at Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics.


Huawei designs semiconductors at its wholly-owned subsidiary HiSilicon Technologies, founded in 2004. HiSilicon is a fabless chipmaker, meaning the company does not operate its own production. Its technology and scale of operations remain shrouded in secrecy because HiSilicon discloses little information to the media, including for this report.




At this point, Qualcomm and Huawei appear to have the lead in designing 5G-compatible processors. Qualcomm led the market in 4G modems, while a few players such as HiSilicon, Taiwan's MediaTek and Intel has the capability of 4G modem as well.


HiSilicon is unlikely to be selling its cutting edge smartphone semiconductors to third parties, although it has begun to sell chips for other products. According to marketing material obtained by Nikkei, Huawei's secretive chipmaking arm sold more $1 billion worth of chips to companies outside its own group in 2017. U.K. research company IHS Markit estimates that HiSilicon's sales totaled $4 billion in 2017.


The document also indicated that HiSilicon had sold chips for televisions and security cameras. The unit set up a booth to showcase its TV chips at the China Content Broadcasting Network expo in Beijing in late March.


The Huawei unit still lags Qualcomm in scale -- HiSilicon's 2018 sales are estimated at $5.5 billion, against about $16.6 billion for the U.S. chipmaker -- but it is growing quickly.


Huawei began developing its own chips back in the early 1990s at the predecessor company to HiSilicon. But recently its efforts have come under fire in the trade war between China and the U.S., which has sought to halt Beijing's drive to become self-sufficient in the technology crucial to cutting edge innovation. "This is in contrast to [Chinese telecom device maker] ZTE, which was cut off from chip procurement as a result of U.S. sanctions" last year, notes Gu Wenjun, chief analyst at Shanghai-based semiconductor industry researcher ICwise.


Despite its fast growth, HiSilicon does not design and make chips by itself. The company uses intellectual property under license from U.K.-based chip designer Arm Holdings, which is partly owned by Japan's SoftBank Group. It also outsources manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker.


HiSilicon's reliance on Taiwanese production could be a concern for the company if the U.S. pressures Taipei to follow its efforts to shut out Chinese technology. Earlier this year, Huawei asked its suppliers to allocate more production to China, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.


https://asia.nikkei....nt=article link






General travel - Taiwan

20 March 2019 - 05:36 PM

Breakfast was not bad, had chunky red snapper porridge for main course but started with some fruits and a fritter
So my trip will be starting from the south of Taiwan in the city of Kaohsiung then will move to Taipei Friday evening. So, when I arrive at Taoyuan Airport (near to Taipei) I have to take their High Speed Rail (HSR) to the Kaohsiung in the south. But before that I need to get to the Taoyuan HSR Station, by bus
Follow the sign to go to the bus station at B1 level, just outside the glass door go to number 12 kiosk for bus number 705 and pay just $30
Inside the bus
Train ticket $1,980 (non-reserve seat cost $1290, standard reserve seat costs $1330) from Taoyuan station to Zuoying Station (this is the name of the HSR station for Kaohsiung)
Here comes the train
Inside the train

Huawei New P30 & P30 Pro

05 March 2019 - 11:58 PM

Huawei P30 Pro ‘periscope’ zoom camera confirmed as executive talks enhanced low-light

Ben Schoon - Mar. 5th 2019 7:01 am PT 




In just a few short weeks, Huawei will officially unveil its new flagship, the Huawei P30 Pro. Today, the company’s VP of Global Marketing is confirming some details about the device, including the periscope zoom camera the Huawei P30 Pro will be packing.


Last year’s Huawei P20 Pro did a lot to help establish Huawei as a powerful player in the smartphone camera market, and that prowess continues on. For its sequel, Huawei isn’t pulling its punches. Speaking to Android Central, Huawei’s Clement Wong confirmed a couple of long-standing rumors about the Huawei P30 Pro – it’s going to have a super-zoom sensor, and it’ll have better low-light.


Looking first at the new zoom camera, Wong describes it as a “periscope-style” zoom camera that will be the third sensor on the Huawei P30 Pro. He explained that it would have “super-zoom” capabilities, but didn’t confirm the level it would hit. Previous Huawei devices achieved 5x zoom using a hybrid system, and rumors currently point to a 10x zoom from the sensor.


What would that 10x zoom be capable of? It’ll probably produce some great shots, and early samples on Chinese social media show off something truly amazing. Wong says that the picture below was captured on the P30 Pro, sneakily confirming its quad-camera setup, and clearly showing details of the lunar surface. He says this shot was taken handheld without any post-editing.



Confirmed Huawei P30 Pro zoom camera sample


Further, Wong explains that the Huawei P30 Pro will also offer enhanced low-light capabilities alongside the strong zoom option. Specifics weren’t mentioned, sadly, but the company sees its next upgrade as a huge jump over what was offered on the already impressive P20 Pro. He also suggested that hardware would be involved, with the new night mode not solely relying on software like the company’s competition.


To end, Wong said that the Huawei P30 Pro will use “revolutionary technology to rewrite rules of photography.” That’s a very bold claim, and we’ll have to wait until March 26th to see how it pans out.









China's 'Greater Bay' threatens Singapore's finance and tech

05 March 2019 - 04:40 PM



China's 'Greater Bay' threatens Singapore's finance and tech status

Analysts see huge Hong Kong-Macao project siphoning business away from city-state

JUSTINA LEE, Nikkei staff writer March 04, 2019 06:35 JST



To stay competitive and become a "smart" city, Singapore has been investing in emerging digital technologies across various industries


SINGAPORE -- China's ambitious Greater Bay Area project encompassing Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong could threaten Singapore's standing as a hub for finance and technology.


Earlier this month, Chinese authorities unveiled their plans for the vast area, which boasts a population of 71 million and an estimated gross domestic product of $1.64 trillion.


Although a concrete road map for developing the Greater Bay Area has yet to be made, the unveiling was a crucial step forward in Beijing's efforts to quell rising protectionism around the world and spark a slowing economy at home.


According to economists, the project could eventually overshadow Singapore.


Lawrence Loh, director of the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations at NUS Business School, noted that the huge project "will definitely" have an impact on Singapore.


"The geoeconomics of the new Chinese development will be formidable in its scale and scope, [creating] synergies across many industries and markets," he said. Loh added that the Greater Bay Area is also "a much bigger region," with 12 times Singapore's population and almost five times its GDP.


"The main challenge for Singapore will be specifically in the finance sector and -- more broadly -- in its location as a business hub," Loh noted.


Tommy Xie, head of Greater China Research at OCBC Bank, said that Hong Kong will be the first to benefit from the project. Strengthening Hong Kong's role as a global financial center and magnet for investment by China "may pose some immediate challenges to Singapore," he said.


Still, rather than being put off, some Singapore companies see potential in the huge area. Lucas Loh, president of China & Investment Management at Capitaland Group, said the core growth engines, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in the Greater Bay Area "are also part of [the company's] core city clusters in China."


Capitaland has been ramping up its presence in Guangzhou over the past year, acquiring two residential sites in Zengcheng District and a mixed-use site in Guangzhou Science City, which Loh says is "a key component of China's plans to turn the Greater Bay Area from a strong manufacturing base into a science and technology hub."



Shenzhen will form an important part of China's Greater Bay Area.   © AP


However, not all analysts think the project will damage Singapore. "Hong Kong and Singapore are global cities which tap worldwide talent pools and financial markets, so the Greater Bay Area does not really represent a marked shift in the competitive dynamic between the two," said Duncan Innes-Ker of The Economist.


Innes-Ker thinks the city-state can mitigate some effects of the project by reducing barriers that prevent Singapore-based companies from operating in Southeast Asia. "ASEAN's economies are expected to expand rapidly," he said. "This should provide many opportunities for financial and professional service providers based in Singapore"


To boost competitiveness, Singapore has been increasing efforts to transform itself into a "smart" nation by investing in emerging digital technologies across various industries. In fintech alone, investments in 2018 more than doubled to $365 million from a year ago, according to a recent report by Accenture.


Singapore is also working on fifth-generation, or 5G, technologies. In January, Singapore Telecommunications, Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic launched the nation's first 5G training and testing center. The partners will use the facility to develop applications for transportation, logistics, health care, manufacturing and other industries.









Short holiday Hokkaido & Osaka

21 January 2019 - 07:34 AM


Sunrise the tiny spot beside the sun is Mt Fuji



Landed at Chitose