After moves on ARM, China tries Imagination coup

April 06, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
After moves on ARM, China tries Imagination coup
UK Members of Parliament have written to the Prime Minister to try and prevent the relocation of graphics intellectual property licensor Imagination Technologies Ltd. (Kings Langley, England) to China, according to reports.

Imagination was acquired in 2017 by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC (Palo, Alto, Calif.), a venture capital firm managing funds provided by China.

Now a state-controlled Chinese investor in the company – China Reform Holdings – is seeking to appoint four directors, a move that will be discussed at an emergency meeting of the board of directors to be held on Tuesday April 7.

Sky News reported that senior MPs, including the chairs of four Commons select committees, are urging the Prime Minister to intervene on the grounds of potential risks to national security. The MPs warn that after taking control of Imagination's board, the Chinese company could relocate Imagination, as well as its intellectual property, to China.

Imagination rival ARM has also been targeted by the Chinese. In 2018 ARM's operations in China, including the ability to collect royalties, were taken over by a joint-venture that ARM does not control (see Report: Control of ARM's Chinese business passes to JV).

Imagination designs GPU circuits for license and has enjoyed success in the smartphone market with Apple and Samsung. A wave of recruitment of Imagination engineers by Apple to allow it to start designing its own GPUs was the trigger for a collapse of the company (see Apple hires group of UK GPU engineers ).

This resulted in the partial sell off of the company and its eventual bail out by Chinese equity finance (see Imagination, MIPS to be sold to China-, California-connected VCs ). Nonetheless Imagination was able to secure further Apple business (see Apple able to use more Imagination IP under renewed deal and How much did Apple pay to settle with Imagination? ).

Imagination's GPUs are used in about 30 percent of smartphones and 40 percent of automobile display systems.

Related links and articles:

www.imgtec.com

www.arm.com

News articles:

Apple able to use more Imagination IP under renewed deal

How much did Apple pay to settle with Imagination?


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