ARM vs. China: What If They Stop Licensing?

The first thing we have to understand is who has the pot by the handle, and here is the first curiosity of all of this, since ARM currently has a giant market in China, but NVIDIA’s acquisition must be sanctioned, and if it is done this way the US can ban the export of any ARM chip to China.

ARM v China: what happens if they stop licensing

But if that does not succeed, because China refuses to enter through the US ring, its companies will pale to even disappear, since it is America that has almost all the licenses to manufacture chips.

Unprecedented technological isolation, China cannot manufacture processors, can it?


Only in 1980, China had to stop producing its own processors due to the acquisition of patents from AMD and Intel and subsequent pacts between them, blocking the vast majority of options for the Asian country.

But in 1990, the Chinese government bought Alpha, with all its technologies and patents, to later develop Shenwei, and then bought Loongson for MIPS instructions. This opens up an opportunity if China decides to follow its path, but the problem is that this has been stopped for decades and now almost all Chinese is based on ARM.

Logically, if ARM stops issuing licenses, no Chinese manufacturer will be able to produce chips on their terms, and the only option would be to copy and invest on this basis, bypassing intellectual property rights, but even if they do, China does not have independent production. … technology to do it today.

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Huawei ARM

ARM technology is needed to manufacture microcircuits, no matter how many laws are violated to copy them, but without it there is no way to manufacture these microcircuits and move forward. So we’re back and the only solution is to invest in MIPS and instruction sets purchased from Alpha.

But even if this idea were put forward, China has an even bigger problem: it does not have an ecosystem to develop, so creating something like that is a huge obstacle and a monstrous cost. From the nerve center of decision making, companies supplying different components, agreements with different countries, etc.

ARM, software and system optimization


China had it all years ago and is maturing, but it will need to spend even more resources on instruction oriented design software, it needs to improve the productivity of its foundries to deliver unprecedented productivity, and of course it should be warmer. effective. on the chips you develop.

Thus, they are playing a two-way game with the United States, developing their own infrastructure so as not to depend on them. If all goes as expected, ARM should be okay, because in theory, barring a giant surprise, they are not ready to throw off their yoke.

But as we have seen over the past three decades, it doesn’t take long for them to dominate the sector, even if they start from scratch, to the point that they have beaten their rival in many areas and are now the undisputed leaders in many others. …

What seems obvious is that China is not afraid that ARM will stop supplying them with licenses, it is not afraid that Huawei and other giants will not be able to release more chips on their technology, this could be an unambiguous sign that something is smoldering. big, let’s see how this whole story ends.

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