Huawei Technologies is constructing a large semiconductor equipment research and development center in Shanghai to strengthen its chip supply chain amid U.S. trade restrictions. The center's goal is to develop lithography machines essential for cutting-edge chip production. U.S. export controls have significantly limited Huawei's access to this equipment, dominated by ASML, Nikon, and Canon.

Huawei is offering competitive salary packages, attracting engineers with experience from top global chip tool manufacturers. The tightening export controls have increased available top chip talent for local companies. Despite the generous compensation offered, Huawei's working culture is demanding, with long working hours and limited time off, as highlighted by industry managers.

The U.S. export controls have affected semiconductor equipment and prompted Chinese chipmakers to seek domestic alternatives. Naura, a leading Chinese semiconductor equipment supplier, has significantly increased revenue since 2018. In response, Huawei is enhancing its domestic capabilities with the new R&D center in Shanghai's Qingpu district. The massive campus includes chip development facilities, HiSilicon Technologies' headquarters, and research centers for wireless technologies and smartphones.

The total investment in the R&D base nears 12 billion yuan, with plans to accommodate over 35,000 high-tech workers. Huawei's R&D spending reached a record high in 2023.

Before the U.S. blacklist, Huawei focused on chip design and collaborated with global partners. After restrictions, it turned to local chipmakers and ventured into chip production with local partners.

Huawei's proactive measures to localize its chip-related sources and invest in domestic alternatives have been lauded by analysts. Realizing these efforts will require significant time and effort.