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Huawei’s $1.66 Billion Bet on Semiconductor Independence: A Brutal Work Culture?

Huawei is making a significant investment to reduce its reliance on foreign chipmakers by constructing a massive semiconductor research and development (R&D) facility in Shanghai at a cost of $1.66 billion.

This facility aims to minimize Huawei’s dependence on external chip providers. To expedite the development process, Huawei is reportedly actively recruiting top talent, offering lucrative compensation packages that are said to be double those of other companies. The company is also reportedly hiring experienced engineers from leading chipmakers.

However, an anonymous engineer describes Huawei’s work culture as “brutal,” with workweeks extending to seven days without breaks instead of the standard six. While the high salaries and bonuses may attract some, such a demanding work environment reportedly takes a toll on employees, with the source engineer stating, “Contracts are for three years, but most people don’t last until renewal.”

Currently, Huawei relies on SMIC for its 5nm Kirin processor, which is expected to be commercialized later this year. SMIC is also developing a 3nm processor for Huawei.

SMIC is likely to remain a crucial partner for Huawei at least until Huawei’s R&D facility reaches full production capacity.

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