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Specter of More U.S. Restrictions Weighs on Huawei

Vlad Savov
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Specter of More U.S. Restrictions Weighs on Huawei

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The so-called phase-one U.S.-China trade pact has done little to allay fears about Huawei Technologies Co.’s prospects and those of its key suppliers, two analyst research reports suggest.

Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse warned of the likely trickle-down impact of U.S. sanctions on Huawei should they remain in place or be tightened even further. Restrictions could slow the pace of China’s fifth-generation networking rollout, which would affect Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and fellow technology and manufacturing providers, one report said.

Tensions over tech are likely to remain as the Trump administration considers steps to further limit the ability of American companies to supply Huawei. This comes even as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Wednesday he doesn’t “view Huawei as a chess piece” in continuing negotiations with China.

Tech Industry Shudders as U.S. Weighs New Limits on Huawei Sales

Morgan Stanley analysts forecast Huawei’s total smartphone volume at 200 million this year, a decline of 40 million from 2019. Without regaining access to the Google Mobile Services suite on Android, Huawei’s “smartphone shipments would be close to zero in Western Europe,” said the analysts. That compares to shipments of 29 million units in 2018 and 21 million devices through the first three quarters of 2019 for the region, they added. The European market had served as a catalyst for Huawei’s consumer division, which was itself the biggest growth engine for the Chinese company.

Closer controls on Huawei would also impact its key suppliers. Chipmaking giant TSMC, which counts Huawei as its second largest customer after Apple Inc., relies on its semiconductor orders for 10% of revenue, according to Bloomberg data. Credit Suisse wrote that TSMC would lose a chunk of that business in the event of increased sanctions, though the hit would be partially offset by other customers like Apple and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. expanding their orders. TSMC reports earnings later today, hoping to shake off a two-day decline in share price amid added uncertainty about U.S. pressure.

Some Asian tech names stand to benefit under new supply chain scenarios, Samsung Electronics Co. most notable among them. It’s expected to soak up the Western Europe smartphone demand that would emerge without competitive Huawei devices on the market, Morgan Stanley said. Credit Suisse echoed the positive sentiment, adding that the Samsung LSI chipmaking division would “benefit supplying the mid-tier Qualcomm chips and Exynos family” in the absence of Huawei from key global markets.

Read more: TSMC Hires Ex-Intel Lobbyist to Deal With U.S.-China Tensions

--With assistance from Cindy Wang.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Colum Murphy

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