Academician He Hezhen is quoted, “Huawei has actually mastered the design of ARM and the modification of the architecture.” There is no official confirmation Huawei is far along. If He is correct, it would be a remarkable achievement.
ARM designs may have over 100,000,000 transistors. Over two decades, hundreds of ARM engineers have created the most power efficient designs in the world. It would be a miracle if Huawei had reproduced them in less than a year or two. Essentially every mobile chip from Apple to ZTE starts with ARM cores for the basic processing.
In development since 1983, the ARM computer design is generally considered the best combination of low power and high performance. The instruction set and interfaces are well-defined, but the internal workings are kept closed.
Huawei’s license on the current ARM versions continues, so the chips this year are only minimally affected. Apparently fearing the current ban, Ren decided several years ago to create Huawei’s own version.