Inside Huawei’s HiSilicon
5/18/2011 2:20 PM EDT
In a small white office building tucked between the world headquarters of Intel and Nvidia, a team of engineers is heading up one of the most ambitious and controversial microprocessor designs in Silicon Valley. When announced sometime next year, the chip aims to be as fast and powerful as anything driving the world's largest Internet routers.
Huawei Technologies, one of China's most successful electronics companies to date, is designing the chip for its own systems.
The Shenzhen-based networking giant has gathered a global team of semiconductor veterans along with the best of China's electronic engineering graduates working in its chip division, HiSilicon Technologies. The chip unit was launched in 1991, and emerged as a full division under the HiSilicon name in October 2004. To date, it has completed more than 120 chip designs and claims to have shipped 150 million chips.
The router chip is perhaps the most sophisticated and ambitious project in the brief history of the secretive HiSilicon group. EE Times Confidential tracked down the ex-Cisco microprocessor architect heading the HiSilicon router chip design team. His is a story that a growing number of U.S. engineers are experiencing as they sign on with Chinese electronics companies.