According to Light Reading, Huawei Hubble has invested in dozens of Chinese chip start-ups and plans to open its first fab, which will begin production in stages in 2022 in an attempt to rebuild its supply chain.
According to an in-depth investigation by Caijing magazine, Huawei’s investment through the venture capital arm Hubble Technology Investment Co., Ltd. covers almost every link of the semiconductor industry chain, including integrated circuit design, electronic design automation (EDA) software, packaging and testing, and material.
Huawei has high hopes for China’s chip start-ups, hoping to rescue them from US sanctions and chip shortages. Since Hubble Technology was established three years ago, it has directly invested in 38 companies, 35 of which are related to chips.
According to insiders, these investment choices are for technological rather than financial reasons, and the purpose is to establish a controllable supply chain.
Before the establishment of Hubble Technology in 2019, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei insisted that the company would not invest or cooperate with suppliers to ensure the freedom to choose the best available technology, but the United States sanctions change it. Hubble Technology has stopped investing in high-end mobile phones and high-performance computing chips, which are the core businesses of its chip design subsidiary HiSilicon.
Technology blogger Kevin Xu pointed out: “Hubble Technology is looking for and investing in companies in China that can become Huawei’s suppliers and partners, and cultivate them to world-class quality. That’s why Huawei entrusts the business to them—nothing compares. Becoming a Huawei supplier has been better cultivated.”
Caijing magazine said: “As Huawei has established potential supply chain partners, Hubble’s investment focus has shifted several times. At the end of 2019 and the first half of 2020, its target is materials and optoelectronic chip companies. In 2020 In the second half of the year and early 2021, it switched to EDA software. In recent months, Hubble Technology’s goal is advanced equipment. In early June, it invested 82 million yuan (12.7 million US dollars) in Beijing Keyi Hongyuan Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. The company is an expert in light source systems for lithography machines.”
Just two weeks ago, it invested in MaxOne, the first Chinese company capable of designing vertical probe cards, which is also a necessity for IC packaging. In addition to establishing its own supply chain, Huawei has also joined the nationwide boom in building chip factories. According to Digitimes, Huawei is expected to establish its first wafer fab in Wuhan in 2022, with an investment of 1.8 billion yuan (US$279 million), which will be initially used for the production of optical communication chips and modules.
Huawei cannot fight alone. This is the entry point for its investment targets. Huawei hopes that in the next three to five years, the companies it invests in can support its entire production line.