Apparently, ARM has dodged the American blockade and is now selling its most advanced designs to Huawei. Arm China spokesperson Liang Quan tells Sina.com
“We are actually actively communicating … we have recently confirmed that Arm’s follow-up infrastructure can also be licensed to Chinese customers, including Huawei.”
ARM processors are the heart of Huawei’s mobile chips; ARM’s public cutoff of Huawei could have been a major problem. ARM UK’s official comment is
Arm continues to comply with the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Commerce Department. Under those current guidelines, Arm cannot license any IP subject to U.S. export controls to HiSilicon unless granted an export license by the US Commerce Department. However we are not providing any details on which Arm IP products are subject to U.S. export controls.
which I consider a non-denial. I have to go with what I have.
I’ve passed the story to a DC reporter who will presumably get the facts. Tech reporters are also about to jump on this with the Kirin 990 announcement.
ARM is a British company owned by Softbank in Japan. It was a great coup when the US security apparatus persuaded the company to cut off Huawei, one of ARM’s most important customers.
In May, ARM instructed employees to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei. However, Sina.com now has discovered ARM China “was still communicating constantly.”
ARM UK in 2018 sold majority control of ARM China to a Chinese group. Now, Liang claims, “Arm China is an independent IP company. We have very full autonomy in product development and product planning.”
US companies Intel and Micron are also running the US blockade. Huawei is a US$100 billion company and a huge customer. Chinese companies are the primary purchasers of Intel chips.
ARM processors are the heart of mobile chips from Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Huawei, and 95% of mobile phones. Huawei has reverse engineered ARM cores and was prepared to replace ARM if necessary.
Apparently, that was never a real risk.