Arm wrestle round two: Chinese outpost says it's fired the replacement CEO foisted on it by HQ

Arm China says nothing counts without a board meeting

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A spat between chip designer Arm and its Chinese business escalated yesterday after Arm China said it had fired one of the people that the company's headquarters had promoted to be interim CEO.

The drama began on Tuesday when Arm's Cambridge headquarters said that its board had dismissed Arm China CEO Allen Wu and replaced him with two interim co-CEOs, Phil Tang and Ken Phua.

The following day, Arm China used its WeChat account to contradict the statement, saying that Wu remains atop the company and to assert its independence by pointing out that "Arm China is an independent entity and legally registered in China." Later that day, Arm HQ joined up with Hopu Investment, a major shareholder in the Chinese business, to reiterate that it had fired Wu for failing to disclose "conflicts of interest" without offering further details.

Arm fires the head of its Chinese unit – but Arm China says Allen Wu still works there

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Arm China hit back once again yesterday with a post on its WeChat account saying that Tang had been dismissed from the company on May 26 "due to serious irregularities" and that he "no longer represents Arm China" in any capacity.

"The joint statement made by Arm and Hopu has caused a tremendous negative impact on Mr Allen Wu and Arm China. The company has taken legal actions against persons involved in the matter. Arm China did not convene any valid board meeting, hence the company does not have any personal shuffle decision,” the WeChat post said.

Arm headquarters was not immediately available to respond to the latest statement.

The boardroom battle comes two years after Softbank-owned Arm sold a 51 per cent stake in its Chinese subsidiary for $775m to a consortium of local investors, including the Silk Road Fund and Singapore's state investment vehicle, Temasek Holdings.

Arm China took control of all of Arm's licences and royalties businesses in the country, including dealing with key Chinese customers such as Huawei. All of Huawei's chip designs, including all of the Kirin mobile processors used in its premium smartphones, are based on Arm designs. ®

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