US crackdown on Huawei intensifies as Intel, Qualcomm lose licenses to ship chips to the Chinese hardware giant

Huawei MateBook 14 (2024)
(Image credit: Future)

The U.S. Department of Commerce has blocked Chinese tech giant Huawei from receiving supplies of certain semiconductors from Intel and Qualcomm in the name of national security and foreign policy.

This is significant because it's a new level of pressure being applied to Huawei by the U.S. government, which has long held that the company is a potential threat to national security due to its ties to the Chinese government. 

It's also noteworthy timing, since reports are that the companies involved were notified on Tuesday, May 7—the same day as Apple's "Let Loose" iPad event, but more importantly, the same day we published our Huawei MateBook X Pro hands-on review

Huawei's MateBook X Pro is a compelling ultraportable that could rival the MacBook Air M3, and it's relevant to today's news because in April, Huawei made a big deal about the MateBook X Pro being its first "AI laptop". This was likely done to cash in on the AI laptop marketing craze that's gripped the 2024 PC industry after Intel started hyping the AI-focused NPUs (Neural Processing Units) built into its new Intel Meteor Lake chips. 

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024)

The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) could be a compelling MacBook Air competitor thanks to its high-end Meteor Lake CPU...but it may have also gotten Intel and Qualcomm into some hot water with the U.S. government. (Image credit: Future)

Problem is, Republican lawmakers made a big stink about the company and this new laptop back in April because it reminded them U.S. companies are shipping their latest laptop chips to China.

"One of the greatest mysteries in Washington, D.C. is why the Department of Commerce continues to allow U.S. technology to be shipped to Huawei," Wisconsin Representative Michael Gallagher, a Republican who chairs the House of Representatives select committee on China, told Reuters at the time.

Now it seems as though the Biden administration is responding to that outcry by revoking the licenses which allowed Intel and Qualcomm to ship at least some of their chips to Huawei. They had to get these licenses after Huawei and its affiliates were added to the "Entity List" of U.S. national security concerns in 2019 because "the U.S. Government has determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that Huawei has been involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."

A representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce has confirmed to the Financial Times that it has "revoked certain licenses for exports to Huawei," but stopped short of confirming which companies were affected.

Tom's Guide is one of many media organizations which have reached out to Huawei for comment, and though we've yet to hear back we'll update this story if we do.

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Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.