US Lawmakers Angry After Huawei Unveils Laptop With New Intel AI Chip

In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, a man wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past a billboard advertising Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, a man wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past a billboard advertising Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
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US Lawmakers Angry After Huawei Unveils Laptop With New Intel AI Chip

In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, a man wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past a billboard advertising Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, a man wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past a billboard advertising Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Republican US lawmakers on Friday criticized the Biden administration after sanctioned Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei unveiled a laptop this week powered by an Intel AI chip.

The United States placed Huawei on a trade restriction list in 2019 for violating Iran sanctions, part of a broader effort to hobble Beijing's technological advances. Placement on the list means the company's suppliers have to seek a special, difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to it, Reuters reported.

One such license, issued by the Trump administration, has allowed Intel to ship central processors to Huawei for use in laptops since 2020. China hardliners had urged the Biden administration to revoke that license, but many grudgingly accepted that it would expire later this year and not be renewed.

Huawei's unveiling Thursday of its first AI-enabled laptop, the MateBook X Pro powered by Intel's new Core Ultra 9 processor, shocked and angered them, because it suggested to them that the Commerce Department had approved shipments of the new chip to Huawei.

“One of the greatest mysteries in Washington, DC is why the Department of Commerce continues to allow US technology to be shipped to Huawei" Republican Congressman Michael Gallagher, who chairs the House of Representatives select committee on China, said in a statement to Reuters.

A source familiar with the matter said the chips were shipped under a preexisting license. They are not covered by recent broad-cased restrictions on AI chip shipments to China, the source and another person said.

The Commerce Department and Intel declined to comment. Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The reaction is a sign of growing pressure on the Biden administration to do more to thwart Huawei's rise, nearly five years after it was added to a trade restriction list.

In August, it shocked the world with a new phone powered by a sophisticated chip manufactured by sanctioned Chinese chipmaker SMIC, becoming a symbol of China's technological resurgence despite Washington's ongoing efforts to cripple its capacity to produce advanced semiconductors.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing this week, Kevin Kurland, an export enforcement official, said Washington's restrictions on Huawei have had a "significant impact" on it access to US technology. He also stressed that the goal was not necessarily to stop Huawei from growing but to keep it from misusing US technology for "malign activities."

But the remarks did little to stem frustration among Republican China hawks following the news about Huawei's new laptop.

"These approvals must stop," Republican congressman Michael McCaul said in a statement to Reuters. "Two years ago, I was told licenses to Huawei would stop. Today, it doesn’t seem as though the policy has changed."



China's Geely to Launch Hybrids with More Fuel-efficient Engines

FILE PHOTO: The Geely logo is seen at a car dealership in Shanghai, China August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Geely logo is seen at a car dealership in Shanghai, China August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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China's Geely to Launch Hybrids with More Fuel-efficient Engines

FILE PHOTO: The Geely logo is seen at a car dealership in Shanghai, China August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Geely logo is seen at a car dealership in Shanghai, China August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China's Geely Holding Group on Wednesday said it would launch a series of hybrid models in the first half of next year equipped with its next-generation, more fuel-efficient engine.
Geely's engine achieves a thermal efficiency of up to 46.1%, according to a product certificate issued by the government-owned CATARC Huacheng Certification Co.
Geely said this was among the highest in the world, and would reduce fuel consumption and extend driving range, Reuters said.
The new models will be launched for Geely Auto's Galaxy series and its Lynk & Co brand.
Plug-in hybrids are the fastest growing fuel-type sector in China thanks to their affordability, and competition in the sector is intensifying.
BYD on Tuesday launched two hybrid sedans equipped with its new hybrid tech, priced from 99,800 yuan ($13,800).
BYD said the new hybrid tech enables fuel consumption on depleted batteries of 2.9 liters per 100 km under New European Driving Cycle tests, with a thermal efficiency of 46.06%.