Huawei's decision to keep its Kirin SoCs exclusive leaves ZTE in the lurch
A few days ago, the US government issued a directive that ensured that no US company would be able to sell components to ZTE for the next seven years. One of the major consequences of that decision is the fact that ZTE can no longer use Qualcomm's Snapdragon SoCs on its devices, effectively inhibiting the company's mobile division.
The exclusion of Snapdragon from the list of SoC options has left ZTE with the choice of choosing from Samsung's Exynos, Huawei's Kirin, and MediaTek's Helio chips. It would seem that Huawei has ruled itself out of that already sparse list, by announcing that it won't be selling its Kirin SoCs to any OEM.
ZTE and Huawei have come under fire from the US government over the past few years, so one would expect the latter to render help in a situation like this. Huawei already releases devices with both Snapdragon and MediaTek SoCs, so this could be a case of the company not having any other option. Huawei's HiSilicon has mostly focused on producing a select few chipsets in the mid-range and flagship segments, then supplementing them with third-party SoCs. That considered, it's possible that the company just cannot meet up with production rates required to also supply ZTE.
While Kirin would have been the best option for ZTE, the company may also set its sights on Samsung's Exynos. Samsung has taken to selling its Exynos SoCs in the recent past, most notably to Meizu.