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Intel ends 5G partnership with China-based chipmaker

By Wong Chung Wee - on 27 Feb 2019, 2:07pm

Intel ends 5G partnership with China-based chipmaker

(Image source: Intel)

Intel has ended its partnership, which was to share technical know-how behind its latest 5G modem chips, with Unisoc, China’s second largest mobile chip manufacturer. According to Nikkei Asian Review, this drastic decision was mainly due to the cybersecurity concerns of the US government.

In the past year, the United States administration has been embroiled in a trade war with China, and the former has targeted Huawei and ZTE with accusations of violation of trade sanctions.

Besides the preemptive to sidestep the possible ire of the US government, the unfortunate departure of former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also added impetus to the decision to end the partnership. He was the advocate of this alliance and his absence meant the lack of a driving factor.

Unisoc declined to comment on this matter; however, Intel said that its financial investment in Unisoc remains unchanged. In 2014, the US chipmaker took a “20% stake in the Tsinghua Unigroup subsidiary that controls Unisoc.” Just last year, Intel announced the 5G partnership with Unisoc that was to include “a series of product collaborations using the American company's latest 5G XMM 8000 modem offerings.”

Intel’s 5G XMM 8160 chip is slated for shipment in the second half of this year, and commercial products that feature this chip will be available by 2020, and the Apple 5G iPhone is allegedly one of the anticipated smartphones to ride the 5G connectivity wave.

(Source: Intel, Nikkei Asian Review)