Huawei expected to develop chip kit at giant new R&D centre

Chinese telecoms vendor Huawei is close to finishing a massive new research and development complex in Shanghai, with semiconductor tech thought to be a major focus.

Scott Bicheno

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read

Huawei itself has said very little about the new facility, which has been under construction since 2020 and is scheduled for completion in June of this year. However, Nikkei Asia has been chatting to people who claim to know a thing or two about the matter and they say one of the main areas of research will be semiconductor equipment.

As we discussed on our most recent podcast, Huawei is in a tricky position when it comes to the chips it needs for its phones and networking equipment because the US has managed to block it from using the most advanced chip manufacturers, the most important of which is TSMC. Furthermore, it is also preventing China’s biggest fab, SMIC, from getting hold of the equipment needed to make the most cutting-edge chips itself.

So, if Nikkei’s sources are correct, Huawei is aiming to take matters into its own hands by researching, developing, and presumably manufacturing that kit itself, with that effort taking place at this new facility. It’s not clear how Huawei intends to overcome the fact that the tech needed to make the latest chips is owned by Dutch company ASML, which has also been persuaded not to sell kit to China.

Thanks to presumed significant support from the Chinese state, Huawei seems to be pulling out all the stops on this initiative. The whole thing is reportedly costing around $1.6 billion and the campus covers no less than 224 football fields. It’s designed to accommodate 35,000 workers, among which are expected to be former employees of major chip kit firms such as Applied Materials and even ASML itself. They will be lured by generous pay packages but will apparently be expected to work non-stop.

Huawei itself declined to offer any details on the new R&D centre, but we do have an aerial photo used by Nikkei in its story, taken from the WeChat account of Qingpu District, where it’s located. The Shanghai municipal government says it’s in Jinze Town but the Qingpu site suggests it may be up the road in Xicen. It’s hard to find likely candidates on Google Maps.



If Huawei is eventually able to manufacture cutting-edge chips for itself, that will represent a major setback to American efforts to suppress China’s technological development. But there remain many questions about its ability to do, with even the US struggling to replicate TSMC’s Taiwan facilities on home soil. Nonetheless, stories like this are likely to prompt the US to take even further measures to ensure Huawei doesn’t succeed.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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