Skip to main content

Arm Severs Itself From Arm China

arm
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Arm has transferred its stake in its rogue Arm China joint venture to an independent entity, enabling it to continue collecting licensing fees from Chinese companies but without requiring Arm China to open its books to potential Arm investors when the company IPOs in 2023. However, the dispute between Arm and Arm China may not be over. 

Arm Ltd. notified Caixin/Nikkei Asia that it had transferred its stake in Arm China to a new entity for accounting reasons. Thus, Arm can now deem its stake in Arm China as an investment rather than a joint venture. As a result, Arm China will continue to distribute Arm's IP in China, and Arm Ltd. will continue to collect licensing fees from Chinese companies. However, it will not have to disclose Arm China's financial results to regulators or Arm's future investors.  

"Transferring shares to a special purpose vehicle could be a well-thought-out option that SoftBank is using to deal with the standoff between Arm and its China joint venture," said Han Lijie, partner at U.S. law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, in a conversation with Caixin/Nikkei Asia

Arm China accounts for about a quarter of Arm's revenue. But Arm China is not a fully-owned subsidiary of the parent company, but is a joint venture between Arm Ltd. (currently controlled by Softbank) and a consortium of China-based investment funds. Arm owned a 47.33% stake in Arm China, whereas the remaining stake was controlled by various Chinese entities, including China Investment Corp.'s Hopu Investment (a 36% stake) and various investment funds controlled by Allen Wu, the chief executive of Arm China.  

Since Allen Wu doesn't share Arm China's financial results with Arm (and Arm cannot fire Wu because he holds the company's seal), so the latter cannot disclose them to its investors and future shareholders, essentially blocking its IPO that was planned to take place at NYSE in March 2023. To IPO, Arm Ltd. needs to complete its financial review between June and September, which was impossible due to Arm China's refusal to disclose its financial results. 

Now that Arm Ltd. does not directly hold a stake in Arm China, its accounting problems look to be solved. But there may be another problem. It's unclear whether the transfer was approved by the current Arm China CEO, who continues to hold Arm China's seal needed for the transaction, Han Lijie notes. Technically, Arm Ltd. is a U.K.-based company, so it should be able to transfer its assets however it wants. But Chinese laws may say otherwise, so we will continue to follow the story.  

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • -Fran-
    I remember this from another thread about ARM where I stood corrected, but ARM's accounting is not done in the UK and while the Company is still technically "alive" in here, all of the accounting is done in Japan. How does that work here (edit: as in the China ARM venture)?

    Regards.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    But Chinese laws may say otherwise, so we will continue to follow the story.

    i mean if Chinese laws allow theft of an entire company.....those laws arent worth following.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Admin said:
    In preps for IPO, Arm transfers Arm China shares to parent SoftBank.

    Arm Severs Itself from Arm China : Read more

    I don't understand why ARM's softbank just stops all cooperation with ARM China over new IP. Companies would be forced to pick between China's implementation and ARM's implementation. Most major companies would stick with Soft Banks ARM IP implementation because to do otherwise would likely mean import restrictions.

    There are other solutions which are more drastic, but effective.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Arm severs itself
    Sooo so much hilarity possible with this.

    Also, for those who know the line, I immediately thought: "$9.17, sever your leg please, sir."
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    hotaru251 said:
    i mean if Chinese laws allow theft of an entire company.....those laws aren't worth following.

    That would very much depend on which side of those "laws" you were on.

    Allen Wu seems to be doing pretty well with them.

    Seriously though - This case indicates that there is no such thing as Chinese "Law" - Just the will of the CCP. If that will can be accomplished inside of restrictions Westerners would consider "Legal" then they will do it for appearances. If not then the law will bend to their will.

    I'd be interested to learn more about the "Seal". Is it a like ownership of a legal title(makes sense)? or is it a physical item that only physical possession of matters (like a silly video game plot)? The first makes more sense to me but other articles have made it sound more like the latter.
    Reply
  • prtskg
    digitalgriffin said:
    I don't understand why ARM's softbank just stops all cooperation with ARM China over new IP. Companies would be forced to pick between China's implementation and ARM's implementation. Most major companies would stick with Soft Banks ARM IP implementation because to do otherwise would likely mean import restrictions.

    There are other solutions which are more drastic, but effective.
    Probably because quarter of ARM's revenue comes from ARM China. The Chinese government could interfere with ARM in China if they try to arm twist the Chinese branch.
    Reply
  • david germain
    waves bye bye to all of ARM IP. all that fancy stuff that is in the Apple M1, all thoes mil contracts. China mil and internal tech companies just got a massive leg up. and ARM very likely lost all access to China as a market. - and maybe all devices that use ARM.
    this could be very bad for the stock prices.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    digitalgriffin said:
    I don't understand why ARM's softbank just stops all cooperation with ARM China over new IP. Companies would be forced to pick between China's implementation and ARM's implementation. Most major companies would stick with Soft Banks ARM IP implementation because to do otherwise would likely mean import restrictions.

    There are other solutions which are more drastic, but effective.
    The entity in China accounts for quite a substantial amount of revenue and you certainly don’t want to burn the bridge when China companies are big time buyers of ARM tech. You can say that China depended on ARM, but I believe ARM also makes a lot of money from China. Anyway, its funny that ARM is trying hard to sever off its ARM.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    watzupken said:
    The entity in China accounts for quite a substantial amount of revenue and you certainly don’t want to burn the bridge when China companies are big time buyers of ARM tech. You can say that China depended on ARM, but I believe ARM also makes a lot of money from China. Anyway, its funny that ARM is trying hard to sever off its ARM.
    China is a rogue unit. They are already hiding expenditures which means they don't want to see what the parent company to see what's happening. Are they getting payouts from the Chinese government, rogue nations, diverting more profits from their local board members? That qualifies as a rogue company. The benefit to the parent company is questionable at best. Divest and shut down. Revoke the division declare them rogue and make their licenses invalid.

    While I'll agree with you on a surface level, those chips are going to assembly factories like foxconn to be sold as end products back to us. So that 25% number is likely highly inflated. Look at all those $40 clearance tablets you see on the market from generic manufacturers.

    With many world government contracts, there's a "buy American" or "buy eu" clause that says 100% of your components and labor have to sourced from the host country unless it's on an exception list.

    I'm simply suggesting arm grease a few wheels to do this. Rogue companies can be blacklisted by the wto.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    I just say ARM should stop giving China any new IP, just keep them locked off with what they have, collect the royalties.

    If they want new IP, they have to play ball with the parent company and give them what they want.
    Reply