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SoftBank's chip technology company Arm says China JV replaces CEO

[SAN FRANCISCO] Arm Ltd, a chip technology company owned by SoftBank Group, said the chief executive officer (CEO) of its China joint venture has been replaced.

The majority of directors on the board of Arm China voted to remove Allen Wu, Arm said. Two co-CEOs will take over, the Cambridge, UK-based company added. An email sent to Mr Wu seeking comment, and a message sent via his LinkedIn profile, were not immediately answered on Tuesday.

Arm China was formed in 2018 when SoftBank sold 51 per cent of the subsidiary to a group of investors including the country's sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp, the Silk Road Fund and Singapore's Temasek Holdings.

"Arm China board of directors have appointed Ken Phua and Phil Tang as Arm China's interim co-CEOs to replace Allen Wu as chairman and CEO," Arm said in a statement. "We remain committed to Arm China's progress and vision operating as an independent company."

Western semiconductor companies are struggling to navigate the trade war between the US and China. Huawei Technologies Co, China's largest tech company and an Arm customer, is at the centre of this standoff. The US, home to many of the world's chipmakers and a chunk of Arm's operations, wants to block Huawei's access to key chip technology.

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Arm licenses the fundamentals of chips for companies that make their own semiconductors, and also sells processor designs. Most of the world's smartphones depend on Arm's technology, and it is trying to expand into servers and PCs. Arm has said that it will comply with US rules that limit what can be sold to Huawei and China. Arm continues to supply technology to Huawei unit HiSilicon.

Arm has offices in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai. China, as the biggest smartphone market, is an important source of revenue for the company.

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