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Qualcomm forms JV with Chinese province to design server chipsets

ARM-based servers, from the Guizhou Province to you!

Qualcomm has struck a US$280 million joint venture with the government of China's Guizhou Province that will see the two organisations design server chips in China.

Qualcomm took the wraps off an ARM-powered server CPU last October. On Sunday it advanced its plans by revealing “a strategic cooperation agreement and joint venture” with Guizhou Province.

The JV is called the “Guizhou Huaxintong Semi-Conductor Technology Co., Ltd” and will “focus on the design, development and sale of advanced server chipset technology in China.”

The announcement notes that China is “the second largest country in the world for server technology sales, according to industry analysts.”

Qualcomm's also setting up an investment company in Guizhou that will serve as a vehicle for future investments in China.

The way to get ahead in China these days is by showing that you're not just in the Middle Kingdom to cash in on its growth. Instead, handing over a thick sheaf of cash and using it to fund something that nourishes China's economy is the way to win friends and influence people behind the Great Firewall.

Qualcomm's anti-trust worries in China were only resolved last February. This new JV may therefore help China to forget past unpleasantness.

It may also be worth revisiting the snippet we quoted above about China being the world's second-largest server market, if only because the nation has previously signalled its liking for verifiably NSA-free technology. Designed-in-China server chipsets might satisfy China while also giving Qualcomm a sniff of a volume market for its ARM-for-servers.

In August 2014, we asked if China and Russia could realistically build their own stacks and still keep pace with users elsewhere in the world, with the folks we consulted suggesting such a move would retard the two nations' abilities to get stuff done. Might Qualcomm's place at the first rank of CPU developers change that situation? ®

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