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Arm China boss happy with Nvidia acquisition collapse

Plus: Rogue CEO's outfit could derail public listing


Allen Wu, chairman and CEO of Arm's Chinese joint-venture Arm China, thinks the collapse of Nvidia’s attempt to buy Arm will be better for the worldwide technology industry – and for China.

In an interview with Xiamen-based JW Insights published at the weekend, Wu highlighted that Arm's fate will affect all of its licensees and manufacturers associated with it in the supply chain. He therefore welcomed the plan devised by Arm's owner, Japan's SoftBank, to float the processor design house on the stock market because that will apparently safeguard its independence and future.

Wu's remarks also betrayed some self-interest, because he suggested an independent, publicly listed Arm would be "more suitable for the Chinese industry."

The CEO went on to muse about whether it is possible for large tech firms to engage in mergers and acquisitions with their peers or rivals, and concluded that such transactions have become so complex they're unlikely to satisfy regulators around the world. Wu's preferred alternative is alliances based on licensing intellectual property – just as Arm did when establishing Arm China.

At this point The Register must remind readers that in 2020 Wu was fired from Arm China by Arm, though he refused to go. As Arm China is minority-owned by Arm, and with certain official documents in his possession, Wu was able to retain his position. Arm, last time we checked, still wants Wu removed and was working with Beijing to achieve that.

As one industry watcher put it last year, Arm China is "completely rogue," and acts as an independent company that pursues its own R&D agenda – sometimes even exploring non-Arm technology.

Arm, for its part, claimed it has a "successful working relationship" with Arm China. The Register will keep an eye out for the UK chip designer's stock-market prospectus – it will surely have something to say on this saga, as it's just the kind of thing potential shareholders will want to ponder before setting aside their hard-earned for some scrip.

Arm China contributes or is linked to as much as one fifth of Arm's worldwide revenues, it's reported, and thus if the tangled nature of the two organizations cannot be resolved, that could derail Arm's chances of a successful public listing, analysts think. ®

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Nvidia wants to lure you to the Arm side with fresh server bait

GPU giant promises big advancements with Arm-based Grace CPU, says the software is ready

Interview 2023 is shaping up to become a big year for Arm-based server chips, and a significant part of this drive will come from Nvidia, which appears steadfast in its belief in the future of Arm, even if it can't own the company.

Several system vendors are expected to push out servers next year that will use Nvidia's new Arm-based chips. These consist of the Grace Superchip, which combines two of Nvidia's Grace CPUs, and the Grace-Hopper Superchip, which brings together one Grace CPU with one Hopper GPU.

The vendors lining up servers include American companies like Dell Technologies, HPE and Supermicro, as well Lenovo in Hong Kong, Inspur in China, plus ASUS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, and Wiwynn in Taiwan are also on board. The servers will target application areas where high performance is key: AI training and inference, high-performance computing, digital twins, and cloud gaming and graphics.

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Restructure at Arm focused on 'non-engineering' roles

Meanwhile, CEO wants to vacuum up engineering talent amid return to stock market

Updated Arm today told The Reg its restructuring ahead of its return to the stock market is focused on cutting "non-engineering" jobs.

This is after we queried comments made this morning by Arm chief executive Rene Haas in the Financial Times, in which he indicated he was looking to use funds generated by the expected public listing to expand the company, hire more staff, and potentially pursue acquisitions. This comes as some staff face the chop.

This afternoon we were told by an Arm spokesperson: "Rene was referring more to the fact that Arm continues to invest significantly in its engineering talent, which makes up around 75 percent of the global headcount. For example, we currently have more than 250 engineering roles available globally."

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Arm says its Cortex-X3 CPU smokes this Intel laptop silicon

Chip design house reveals brains of what might be your next ultralight notebook

Arm has at least one of Intel's more capable mainstream laptop processors in mind with its Cortex-X3 CPU design.

The British outfit said the X3, revealed Tuesday alongside other CPU and GPU blueprints, is expected to provide an estimated 34 percent higher peak performance than a performance core in Intel's upper mid-range Core i7-1260P processor from this year.

Arm came to that conclusion, mind you, after running the SPECRate2017_int_base single-threaded benchmark in a simulation of its CPU core design clocked at an equivalent to 3.6GHz with 1MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 cache.

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Intel is running rings around AMD and Arm at the edge

What will it take to loosen the x86 giant's edge stranglehold?

Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.

So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?

A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.

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UK govt considers invoking national security in Arm IPO saga

Reportedly dropping hints it may use legislation to push a London listing

The UK government is upping the ante in attempts to have Arm listed on the London stock exchange, with reports suggesting it is considering the threat of national security laws to force the issue with owner SoftBank.

According to the Financial Times, the British administration is considering whether to apply the National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), which came into force at the start of the year, in a bid to have SoftBank change its mind over listing Arm exclusively on the Nasdaq in New York, as it has previously indicated.

The FT cites the usual "people familiar with the matter", who indicated there had not yet been a formal debate over using national security legislation, and the idea was opposed by some government officials.

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Arm most likely to list on the Nasdaq, says SoftBank CEO

Hopes of securing London listing for UK chip designer may be in vain

Arm is most likely to list on the US stock exchange Nasdaq, according to Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group, which bought the chip designer in 2016 for $32 billion.

Although he stressed no final decision had been made, Son told investors that the British chip designer was better suited to a US listing. "Most of Arm's clients are based in Silicon Valley and... stock markets in the US would love to have Arm," Son told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.

He said there were also requests to list Arm in London without elaborating on where they came from. The entrepreneur did not say whether the conglomerate is considering a secondary listing for Arm there.

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HPE unveils Arm-based ProLiant server for cloud-native workloads

Looks like it went with Ampere's Altra and Altra Max processors

Arm has a champion in the shape of HPE, which has added a server powered by the British chip designer's CPU cores to its ProLiant portfolio, aimed at cloud-native workloads for service providers and enterprise customers alike.

Announced at the IT titan's Discover 2022 conference in Las Vegas, the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen11 server is the first in a series of such systems powered by Ampere's Altra and Altra Max processors, which feature up to 80 and 128 Arm-designed Neoverse cores, respectively.

The system is set to be available during Q3 2022, so sometime in the next three months, and is basically an enterprise-grade ProLiant server – but with an Arm processor at its core instead of the more usual Intel Xeon or AMD Epyc X86 chips.

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Arm jumps on ray tracing bandwagon with beefy GPU design

British chip designer’s reveal comes months after mobile RT moves by AMD, Imagination

Arm is beefing up its role in the rapidly-evolving (yet long-standing) hardware-based real-time ray tracing arena.

The company revealed on Tuesday that it will introduce the feature in its new flagship Immortalis-G715 GPU design for smartphones, promising to deliver graphics in mobile games that realistically recreate the way light interacts with objects.

Arm is promoting the Immortalis-G715 as its best mobile GPU design yet, claiming that it will provide 15 percent faster performance and 15 percent better energy efficiency compared to the currently available Mali-G710.

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Beijing probes security at academic journal database

It's easy to see why – the question is, why now?

China's internet regulator has launched an investigation into the security regime protecting academic journal database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), citing national security concerns.

In its announcement of the investigation, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said:

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Former AMD chip architect says it was wrong to can Arm project

Cancelled the K12 CPU? Big mistake. Huge, says Jim Keller

Amid the renewed interest in Arm-based servers, it is easy to forget that one company with experience in building server platforms actually brought to market its own Arm-based processor before apparently losing interest: AMD.

Now it has emerged that Jim Keller, a key architect who worked on Arm development at AMD, reckons the chipmaker was wrong to halt the project after he left the company in 2016.

Keller was speaking at an event in April, and gave a talk on the "Future of Compute", but the remarks were unreported until picked up by WCCF TECH.

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Xi Jinping himself weighs in on how Big Tech should deploy FinTech

Beijing also outlines its GovTech vision and gets very excited about data

China's government has outlined its vision for digital services, expected behavior standards at China's big tech companies, and how China will put data to work everywhere – with president Xi Jinping putting his imprimatur to some of the policies.

Xi's remarks were made in his role as director of China’s Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission, which met earlier this week. The subsequent communiqué states that at the meeting Xi called for "financial technology platform enterprises to return to their core business" and "support platform enterprises in playing a bigger role in serving the real economy and smoothing positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows."

The remarks outline an attempt to balance Big Tech's desire to create disruptive financial products that challenge monopolies, against efforts to ensure that only licensed and regulated entities offer financial services.

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UK government still trying to get Arm to IPO in London

Would give its right, er, leg, to keep HQ – and jobs – in Britain

The UK government is continuing efforts to have chip designer and licensor Arm listed on the London Stock Exchange after its public offering rather than New York, as is the current plan.

At stake is whether Arm moves its headquarters to the US, potentially leading to the further loss of UK jobs.

Speaking to the Financial Times, UK minister for Technology and the Digital Economy Chris Philp said the government was still "working closely with" Arm management on the IPO process, despite its parent SoftBank having previously indicated that it was planning to list Arm on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

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