Huawei’s ‘Kirin’ processor naming ignites linguistic stir over mythical references

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    10th March 2024 – (Beijing) Huawei’s choice to name its proprietary processors ‘Kirin’ has sparked a lively debate among netizens and linguists alike. The moniker, which bears reference to the mythological qilin, has generated curiosity over the decision to employ the Japanese pronunciation of a creature deeply rooted in Chinese lore.

    The qilin, a mythical beast symbolising prosperity and serenity, is traditionally pronounced as ‘qilin’ in Mandarin. However, as social platforms buzz with speculation, some argue that ‘kylin’ might be a more accurate English transliteration. Amidst this semantic discourse, Huawei’s strategic shift towards Kirin chips is set to reshape the technological landscape and challenge Qualcomm’s stronghold in the semiconductor market.

    Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities has highlighted the impending repercussions for the American chip giant. Huawei’s pivot away from Qualcomm’s SoCs, which saw orders of up to 42 million units in recent years, is expected to result in a significant downturn for Qualcomm, with projected shipment reductions of up to 60 million units in 2024.

    The transition to Kirin processors is not merely a rebranding exercise but a statement of self-sufficiency, casting Huawei as both a cultural custodian and an industrial contender. As Qualcomm braces for a potential price war to retain its influence in the Chinese market, industry observers also note the mounting pressures from competitors like Samsung and Apple, who are advancing their chip-making capabilities.