Huawei's 5G chipsets are open for sale to third-party companies, and the company will "say yes" if U.S. device giant Apple want to buy it, Richard Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group (CBG), said on Thursday.
Huawei is reportedly now open to selling its 5G Balong 5000 chipsets, which are capable of supporting 3G, 4G and 5G networks on a single chip. The chipsets were officially launched on January 24 along with the first commercial 5G device powered by them. With the support of Balong 5000 chips, Huawei claims that the devices can reach high speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps in live network tests.
"We'll say yes if Apple wants to use them," Yu said.
Previously, the Shenzhen-based company had emphasized that its 5G chips are for use in its "internal products" only. In a media interview in January, the company said that Huawei will not sell its self-developed 5G chipsets to third-party companies.
Apple, on the other hand, has been struggling to find 5G chipset providers to match its 5G device line-up, which was originally planned to roll out in 2020, according to media reports. Its current partner, Intel, is reportedly failing to meet the deadline to provide a major chipset - the XMM 8160 5G modem - that Apple is counting on to enter the competition, the reports said.
Meanwhile, other chipset producers, including Samsung, have also been negotiating with Apple on 5G chipset provision, but have failed to reach a deal.
Qualcomm, the U.S. mobile technology company, is unlikely to form a partnership with Apple due to their legal dispute over patents.
Apple had not replied to a request sent by the Global Times for comment on Huawei's latest offer.
There is still a chance that a deal can be made, according to an industry insider familiar with the chipset supply chain in China.
"Huawei has mature 5G technology, considering it has used the Kirin 970 chipset to power its products, and the possibility cannot be completely eliminated that it has changed its mind and decided to sell chips to other companies," the insider surnamed Liu told the Global Times.
Han Xiaomin, a consultant from the Beijing-based CCID Consulting, told the Global Times in an earlier interview that he believes that both companies can benefit if a deal can be reached. For Apple, it can get the chips it needs. By supplying 5G chips, Huawei can also win a competitive edge over its competitors including Qualcomm and Samsung.
"Huawei is now one of the global leaders in 5G, with advanced and mature technology development. I believe that Huawei is confident enough to supply its technology to Apple despite the fact that it is one of Huawei's major rivals in the smartphone industry," Han said.
"In cooperation with Apple, Huawei can also gain more bargaining power in the market of 5G chips."