Wednesday, September 30th 2020

China Could Reject NVIDIA-Arm Deal, Predicts Former Lenovo Chief Engineer

In big corporate mergers and acquisitions involving multi-national corporations, money is the easy part, with the hard part being competition regulators of major markets giving their assent. The NVIDIA-Arm deal could get entangled in the US-China tech trade-war, with Beijing likely to use its approval of the deal as a bargaining chip against the US. Former Lenovo chief engineer Ni Guangnan predicts that the Chinese government's position would be to try and fight the deal on anti-trust grounds, as it could create a monopoly of chip-design tools. China's main concern, however, would be Arm IP falling into the hands of a US corporation, the California-based NVIDIA, which would put the IP under US export-control regulations.

Both Arm and NVIDIA announced an agreement for the latter to acquire Arm from SoftBank in a deal valued at USD $40 billion. NVIDIA CEO has been quoted as calling it the "deal of the century," as it would put NVIDIA in control of the biggest CPU machine architecture standard after Intel's x86, letting it scale the IP from low-power edge SoCs, to large data-center processors. Chinese regulators could cite recent examples of US export controls harming the Chinese tech industry, such as technology bans over Huawei and SMIC, in its action against the NVIDIA-Arm deal. Arm's 200-odd Chinese licensees have shipped over 19 billion chips based on the architecture as of mid-September 2020.
Source: South China Morning Post
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59 Comments on China Could Reject NVIDIA-Arm Deal, Predicts Former Lenovo Chief Engineer

#1
Vayra86
All I can say is



But China really hasn't got much to lean on here.
Posted on Reply
#2
bonehead123
Go figure....

Everyone knows that whatever tech that they can't build, buy or license, they just steal through industrial espionage and/or backdoor hacking anyways, so why would they even bother trying to block this deal, other than to just display a show of force ....
Posted on Reply
#3
windwhirl
Vayra86
All I can say is



But China really hasn't got much to lean on here.
OK, but wouldn't China be able to say "Nah, this deal can't go through because [insert BS reason here]" and block the deal just like that?
Posted on Reply
#4
fynxer
windwhirl
OK, but wouldn't China be able to say "Nah, this deal can't go through because [insert BS reason here]" and block the deal just like that?
China can say NO and then the deal is off.

If Trump wins the election China will say NO, if Biden win's they could accept deal with guarantees BUT that is still a maybe. After another four year's there could be a new republican president blocking ARM tech to China.

I doubt Chine will approve the deal.

If nvidia moved HQ to a neutral country China could approve the deal.
Posted on Reply
#5
Vayra86
windwhirl
OK, but wouldn't China be able to say "Nah, this deal can't go through because [insert BS reason here]" and block the deal just like that?
Depends a lot on the reason really, the goal I think is clear, moving IP away from China's soil. That can happen the easy or the hard way...

Blocking ARM tech to China is just one of the options and it can be done.
Posted on Reply
#6
ratirt
fynxer
If nvidia moved HQ to a neutral country China could approve the deal.
I don't think that's the deal. NV can move and move back anytime and I'm sure China knows that. What would stop NV to move back the HQ from China? China will say NO to that despite who will win the elections anyway. It is too much of a risk for them and I'm sure they are aware of that.
Posted on Reply
#7
tigger
I'm the only one
Biggest problem is this-Arm IP falling into the hands of a US corporation, the California-based NVIDIA, which would put the IP under US export-control regulations.

Because of Americas paranoia over China, it will be a problem. I don't think it's right blocking China from buying Arms products.
Posted on Reply
#8
Flanker
I still don't understand why acquisitions like these need the approval of Chinese regulators?
Posted on Reply
#9
Ubersonic
Vayra86
Depends a lot on the reason really, the goal I think is clear, moving IP away from China's soil.
One interesting note us that the UK government hasnt green lit the sale to Nvidia yet, perhaps they intend to block it but are holding off in the hope China does it.
Posted on Reply
#10
lexluthermiester
Vayra86
Blocking ARM tech to China is just one of the options and it can be done.
Easily. China is the one nation who's objection will have the least impact and they know it. They can object, but then they just get left out in the cold by NVidia.
tigger
Biggest problem is this-Arm IP falling into the hands of a US corporation
You stated that like you think we're villains. And you say that in the same context where we're discussing China. Irony.
tigger
which would put the IP under US export-control regulations.
That would be a good thing for much of the world.
tigger
Because of Americas paranoia over China, it will be a problem.
It's not just the US. We're just leading the charge doing something about it because we're not spineless.
Flanker
I still don't understand why acquisitions like these need the approval of Chinese regulators?
Because ARM does A LOT of business in China.
Posted on Reply
#11
Caring1
Ascent: a climb or walk to the summit of a mountain or hill.

Clearly the wrong word in this situation.
Posted on Reply
#12
windwhirl
Ubersonic
Arm is a UK company currently owned by by a Chinese investment group.
No, ARM is mostly owned by Softbank, which is Japanese.
tigger
Biggest problem is this-Arm IP falling into the hands of a US corporation, the California-based NVIDIA, which would put the IP under US export-control regulations.
Because of Americas paranoia over China, it will be a problem. I don't think it's right blocking China from buying Arms products.
lexluthermiester
You stated that like you think we're villains. And you say that in the same context where we're discussing China. Irony.
Frankly, China can go get bent in half for all I care.

I'd prefer if ARM went back to the UK, though. It feels like a lot of IP is getting concentrated in the US. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't feel like a good thing in the long run, either.
Posted on Reply
#13
tabascosauz
Ubersonic
The IP isn't on Chinese soil, Arm is a UK company currently owned by by a Chinese investment group.

However the sale to Nvidia is actually of benefit to China as Nvidia cannot afford Arm, they are using a stake in their own company as part payment. So if this goes through Nvidia will be part Chinese owned.

One interesting note us that the UK government hasnt green lit the sale to Nvidia yet, perhaps they intend to block it but are holding off in the hope China does it.
???? Softbank isn't Chinese...

With what ARM China has been doing recently, they're probably just trying to delay this deal until ARM China has finished going completely rogue with the inevitable blessing of whichever Chinese domestic court Allen Wu went whimpering to, complaining that it was unjust for ARM HQ to fire him. I guess that's what happens when you make a joint venture with China in which you let them take the reins.
Posted on Reply
#14
Mistral
An nVidia grudge against China would be an interesting thing to watch...
Posted on Reply
#15
lexluthermiester
windwhirl
I'd prefer if ARM went back to the UK, though. It feels like a lot of IP is getting concentrated in the US. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't feel like a good thing in the long run, either.
I can agree with that. ARM made some of it's best progress while it was under UK-based ownership.
Mistral
An nVidia grudge against China would be an interesting thing to watch...
Yes it would and it would likely change the world.
tabascosauz
???? Softbank isn't Chinese...
Correct, they're Japanese.
Posted on Reply
#16
Vya Domus
It's interesting, practically everyone expressed concern about this deal.
Posted on Reply
#17
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Vayra86
But China really hasn't got much to lean on here.
They do, China is a vast AI-ML market for NVIDIA to lose, not to mention the humungous gaming market. China enjoys many geopolitical cards by obstructing the NVIDIA-Arm deal, and will play them to free Huawei and Bytedance from American clutches.
Posted on Reply
#18
Vayra86
btarunr
They do, China is a vast AI-ML market for NVIDIA to lose, not to mention the humungous gaming market. China enjoys many geopolitical cards by obstructing the NVIDIA-Arm deal, and will play them to free Huawei and Bytedance from American clutches.
This assumes Nvidia isn't pressured in other ways, which it obviously is.

This timing is no coincidence. This is politics through and through, except until now everyone can plausibly deny that. With the recent movements of ARM in China, the overall pressure on fab capacity and China announcing its own masterplan to catch up on all the things they've been losing access or just can't pursue the state of the art of, I think its very clear that governments, countries are moving to secure technology. The first step is playing that by the market's rules, at least at first glance. You can rest assured there is a full strategic lobby behind all of that with many stakeholders involved.

It wasn't too long ago China was in near self-isolation economically, they're rapidly moving that way except now they aren't the ones choosing to do so.
Posted on Reply
#19
Ubersonic
windwhirl
No, ARM is mostly owned by Softbank, which is Japanese.
Omg that's fantastic.

Our media is known for the occasional gaff but mixing up China and Japan is next level xD
Posted on Reply
#20
Flanker
lexluthermiester
Because ARM does A LOT of business in China.
I thought it's more than that. Didn't Chinese regulators also had the final say for the Mellanox acquisition as well?
Posted on Reply
#21
brian111
Regardless of China, It's questionable that the EU or the US would approve it either.
Posted on Reply
#22
lexluthermiester
Flanker
I thought it's more than that. Didn't Chinese regulators also had the final say for the Mellanox acquisition as well?
I can't find any evidence of that.
brian111
Regardless of China, It's questionable that the EU or the US would approve it either.
Not really. Both the EU and US have much to gain from this deal.
Posted on Reply
#23
TheUn4seen
Oh noes, Winnie The Pooh is protesting.
In all seriousness though, they just protest because it will make it harder for them to steal IP, which seems to be the main way China can push their own technology forward. It won's stop them from buying end products, so no actual harm done.
Posted on Reply
#24
xkm1948
There are plenty of IP developed natively in ARM China branch in collaboration with local Chinese firms and Universities. Of course they will try to have a say in this Nvidia acquisition of ARM.
Posted on Reply
#25
Ubersonic
Flanker
Didn't Chinese regulators also had the final say for the Mellanox acquisition as well?
That could be connected to the amount of Mellanox hardware that is made in China, anyone who buys them would therefore have production plants in China.
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