China's heist, and why it may be good

With any luck, even microprocessors heists may have silver linings.

Arm microprocessors power billions of phones, cars, Amazon servers and countless other devices.

Until 2016, Arm was a British owned and headquartered company. Then another company called SoftBank bought it and formed a joint venture with a consortium of Chinese investors, to enter that market.

Now, that venture has pulled what has just been defined “The Semiconductor Heist Of The Century”.

China's heist, and why it may be good /img/china-arm-heist.jpg

Basically, the chinese venture, here called just “Arm-China” for simplicity, had since its foundation the exclusive right to distribute Arm’s designs within China. Legally it was independent, but Arm still maintained control. Recently, however, Arm China “held an event at which they formally declared their independence”.

In practice, from what I understand from Semianalysis, that Chinese company has officially announced that, from now on:

  1. they, and they only, can create agreements for licensing Arm designs in China.
  2. but they will also create and sell their own designs as only they damn please, even if they are based on existing Arm ones.

This is seriously bad for Arm stockholders, of course. But I can’t help hope this will also be a step towards regional microprocessors, even in a Europe that really needs them.