Chinese vendor Huawei has been accused of building a collection of secret semiconductor-fabrication facilities in China to circumnavigate US sanctions imposed on the company, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
Bloomberg reports that the Washington-based association has made the allegations against the vendor, and claims that Huawei has acquired at least two existing plants and is building at least three others, as it ramps up chip production.
Huawei used to get its chips from the US before it was added to the US Entity List back in 2019 by the US Commerce Department, which has restricted exports.
Since then, the company has entered into its own chip production last year, and is receiving an estimated $30 billion in state funding from the Chinese government and its home town of Shenzhen, notes SIA.
SIA says that if Huawei is building these facilities under the names of other companies without disclosing its involvement, it may be able to circumvent sanctions to indirectly purchase American chipmaking equipment and other supplies that would otherwise be prohibited.
Relations between the US and China have continued to sour in recent years, with President Biden signing an executive order earlier this month prohibiting US investment in certain Chinese technology sectors.
The long-expected order restricts investment in semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and certain artificial intelligence systems.
The SIA reportedly estimates there are at least 23 fabrication facilities in the works in China, with planned investments of more than $100 billion by the end of the decade, according to a presentation seen by Bloomberg.
By either 2029 or 2030, the nation is on course to have more than half the industry’s global capacity in older-generation semiconductors, those made with 28-nm or 45-nm technology, added the SIA.
DCD has contacted Huawei for comment.