China likely to block Nvidia-ARM deal, says ex-Lenovo exec

September 30, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
China likely to block Nvidia-ARM deal, says ex-Lenovo exec
China is likely to block the proposed takeover of processor licensor ARM by Nvidia Corp., according to a former Lenovo Group chief engineer reported in Chinese media.

Reportedly, and in translation, Ni Guangnan said: "I believe the Chinese commerce ministry will reject the acquisition," while speaking at a conference in Zhengzhou in China. Guangnan is now an academic at the state-controlled Chinese Academy of Engineering but was previously chief engineer of Chinese computer giant Lenovo Group.

Earlier this month GPU and AI processor vendor Nvidia agreed a $40 billion deal with Softbank Group to acquire ARM while admitting it could take up 18 months to usher the deal through regulatory barriers. Lenovo is the Chinese computer company that gained global prominence when it acquired IBM's personal computer business back in 2005.

Ni said that Chinese companies would not be "comfortable" using the ARM processor architecture if it were owned by a US company.

Although that might be the unspoken concern about any negative ruling by a Chinese regulator, the given reason would likely be based on the premise that Nvidia's ownership would create an over-dominant supplier in IP and chip architecture that is bad for customer choice.

Related links and articles:

ARM sale to Nvidia agreed at $40 billion

Opinion: Nvidia's bad deal is not yet done

Jensen Huang's defence of the Nvidia-ARM deal

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