Huawei’s Secretive Chip Arm Seeks PhDs to Get Past US Sanctions

Huawei Technologies Co.’s secretive chipmaking arm is hiring scores of highly trained engineers to help develop its own semiconductor-design software, a niche field now dominated by America’s Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Synopsys Inc.

Huawei Technologies Co.’s secretive chipmaking arm is hiring scores of highly trained engineers to help develop its own semiconductor-design software, a niche field now dominated by America’s Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Synopsys Inc.

The hiring spree marks the Chinese tech giant’s latest effort to develop technologies it can no longer access freely because of US sanctions. HiSilicon, which makes the processors that power Huawei’s smartphones and telecom gear, has advertised for 50 roles involved in next-generation computing and manufacturing technologies, according to job posts on HiSilicon’s WeChat account.

Among those are roles focused on developing in-house chip design tools known as electronic design automation software, an essential product that Huawei can’t buy from Cadence or Synopsys because of the sanctions. Since Washington blacklisted Huawei — which it views as a national security threat — the Chinese company has resorted to outdated EDA software and clumsy local alternatives to draw up blueprints for their latest chipsets.

Candidates will be responsible for “researching advanced EDA technologies,” according to one job description. In a separate post, another unit at Huawei said it’s seeking talent to participate in EDA development projects that can achieve “breakthroughs” in core chip technologies. Huawei didn’t disclose the overall size of the hiring — for instance, if multiple people were required for specific posts or roles, and representatives declined to comment.

Washington is tightening China’s access to the latest chipmaking technologies, years after the Trump administration first blocked Huawei from getting the most advanced chipsets and software. The US is now pushing the Netherlands to ban ASML Holding NV — which dominates the production of machines critical in making the most advanced silicon — from selling gear to China.

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