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Qualcomm reportedly replaced Huawei in a recent China Mobile tender

Reports from Chinese media talk of US chip company Qualcomm winning a significant proportion of recent China Mobile 5G module business, but the details are sketchy.

Asia Times offered the English-language interpretation of a National Business Daily Chinese-language report. We can read the latter but only with the assistance of Google Translate which, while it does an admirable job with such a different language, still produces some semi-coherent outcomes, so everything needs to be understood in that context.

The National Business Daily report talks of a China Mobile 5G module bidding process for 320,000 units. We would usually assume any bidding process involving an operator would be for network equipment but since Qualcomm isn’t in the networking kit game that surely can’t be what is being referred to in this case. Instead we must assume it’s referring to terminals such as handsets and wifi hotspots.

Huawei is also a player in the 5G modem business and, under normal circumstances, would be expected to supply a lot of them to China Mobile for any own-brand products it makes. In this case the report says 50% of the order will be fulfilled by the Qualcomm X55 baseband platform, which is designed for devices. Most of the rest is accounted for by unheralded Chinese chip vendor Ziguang Zhanrui, with Taiwanese company Mediatek getting the rest.

The reported reason for Huawei’s exclusion from the deal is supply shortages created by the US embargo. The piece makes a point of not admonishing China Mobile for daring to procure non-Chinese kit and acknowledges Qualcomm’s quality in the baseband space.

320,000 units is a decent order but small change in the great scheme of things. This news is intriguing more for what it symbolises. Specifically the continued effect of US action on Huawei’s business and the fact that Qualcomm is still able to do significant business in China despite the fraught trade relationship between the US and China.

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5 comments

  1. Avatar Vod Kanockers 19/08/2021 @ 5:30 pm

    Really?? As huge a media company as u are u cannot find anyone to help u translate? This is way to jumbled to make sense. Either do it right or not at all. This shows a lack professional ism

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 19/08/2021 @ 5:34 pm

      I could say the same for your comment, Mr/Ms Kanockers. Where is your professional ism?

  2. Avatar Talal H. Albalawi 19/08/2021 @ 6:05 pm

    Thanks, Mr. Scott Bicheno for your effort. you are my fav when it comes to telecom news.

  3. Avatar Kuz 20/08/2021 @ 10:34 am

    Magnificent comeback! Poor Mr/Ms Kanockers

  4. Avatar Leo Connor 20/08/2021 @ 6:06 pm

    well , if it’s sketchy ,why don’t u quit the whole Chinese market . hypocrisy instead of democracy isn’t it ?

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