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The turbulent history of arm China: the fate of a joint venture in the cracks

2022-05-07 13:10:58TechWeb

A bit late LatePost | source

Cheng Manqi 、 Ma Hui 、 Zhangjiahao | author

No secondary reprint is provided

Wu xiongang and sun Zhengyi first met in 2016 One Monday in the summer of ,Arm Headquartered in Cambridge, UK .

The night before ,Arm then CEO Simon · SEGAs (Simon Segars) Please Wu xiongang who just flew to Cambridge to the office for a meeting . Wu xiongang joked with his colleagues , British people seldom meet on Sundays , Something big must have happened ,“ Or I get fired , Or we're sold ”.

Yes , The company was sold . In the evening , SEGAs to, including Wu xiongang Arm The core management announced that the company had received an offer . The buyer is the Softbank group founded by son Zhengyi .

When we meet for dinner the next day , Sun Zhengyi to Arm The members of the executive committee gave an infectious account of his views on Arm Complex : He said he 19 At the age of (1976 year ) Go to school in Berkeley , One day walking on the road , The wind blew a magazine on the ground , Just turned to the page about computer chips . He picked up the magazine and read , Since then, I've been fascinated by chips , I wanted to buy... Ten years ago Arm, But there was no money at that time .

Acquisition Arm In line with sun Zhengyi's ambition : Invest in the infrastructure of the future society . Softbank ended up in 2016 year 9 Month after month 320 A wholly-owned acquisition of Arm, In order to obtain a purchase Arm Enough cash for , Softbank reduced its holdings of some Alibaba shares . After this , Driven by Wu xiongang 、 With the support of sun Zhengyi , A new joint venture, anmou Technology ( China ) stay 2018 Founded in , It is no longer like Arm China is like that Arm Wholly owned subsidiary . Anmou is held by Chinese capital 51%,Arm holding 49%, Wu xiongang served as chairman and chairman of the board CEO. Anmou has Arm IP Exclusive license in Chinese Mainland .

When sun Zhengyi promoted the establishment of anmou , That is, we have made a plan to let anmou go public independently , This will bring additional returns to Softbank's investment . Anmou will still be selling Arm IP Outside the business development, self-study IP, This enables Wu xiongang to realize the great opportunity he sees in China's chip market : With Chinese companies on the Internet 、 The downstream of mobile phone and other information industry chain has achieved great success , Self research demands will be transmitted to the upstream layer by layer , The Chinese market will eventually need its own chips IP.

At the beginning of the story , The participants had expected a win-win scenario to realize their aspirations . but 6 After year , The latest scene in the play is an unpleasant conflict .

4 month 29 On the afternoon of Sunday 6 Time , Wearing a light checked shirt and khaki casual pants, Liu Renchen appeared in anmou's Shenzhen Office , Trying to enter the office area , But blocked by security . According to the description of anmou employees on site , The two sides are locked in a stalemate , And the police . All employees in Shenzhen were informed to leave the company immediately . Liu Renchen talked with a few employees in the public area .

Liu Renchen is Softbank and Arm The latest legal representative of anmou appointed .4 month 29 The morning of , SoftBank 、Arm announce , Anmou has completed the industrial and commercial change according to law , Wu xiongang no longer serves as chairman of anmou 、CEO And legal representative , Liu Renchen, vice president of the Research Institute of Tsinghua University in Shenzhen, and Chen Xun, managing partner of Softbank vision fund, were appointed as new co chairs CEO.

Wu xiongang passed at noon that day “ Anmou Technology ” Official WeChat official account issued a statement ,“ Our company ” No industrial and commercial change application has been submitted to Shenzhen Supervision Bureau , It is considered that this change has significant legal defects , Legal means will be used to safeguard rights and interests . This statement, together with that afternoon 5 The joint letters of anmou employees supporting Wu xiongang released around 10:00 have been deleted by wechat platform .

A lawyer who has handled similar commercial disputes told 《 A bit late LatePost》, Wu xiongang is now at a disadvantage . In Chinese legal practice , The industrial and commercial information actually registered is very important , It represents the legal recognition of the company's representative . During Wu xiongang's application for administrative reconsideration or litigation , The new legal representative is still valid . Administrative reconsideration starts from the date of acceptance , The longest reply cycle is 60 God , Litigation can take months . The longer it goes on , It is more and more unfavorable to Wu xiongang . This evening , Anmou's new management said it had taken over the company .

SoftBank 、Arm The change of attitude towards Wu xiongang 6 year , It is also anmou 、 A period when the external environment of China's chip and science and technology field has undergone a huge reversal .

Anmou was founded 2018 It happened to be stepping on the watershed of China US relations . Until then, , The chip industry is a model of global cooperation . Behind a small chip , There is America 、 China 、 Korean chip design enterprises , The European 、 Japanese equipment and material manufacturers , Wafer foundries in Taiwan, China and Korea , Packaging plants in Chinese Mainland and Southeast Asia , And the logistics and financial services companies that support this global chain .

Founded on 1990 year , pioneered IP Authorization mode Arm , Provide chips upstream of chip design IP( intellectual property right ), Chip design companies will be in IP Design a complete chip based on , And then hand it over to TSMC and other wafer foundry for manufacturing . qualcomm 、 Apple 、 samsung 、 tesla 、 Huawei, Hisilicon, etc Arm The customer . exceed 9 Chinese system level chip (SoC,Systems on Chips) Used Arm IP.

but 2018 Years later, , With the escalation of China US science and technology competition , The whole chip industry began to move from a highly globalized division of labor to the bifurcation of China US industrial chain . Chinese companies are beginning to want to support supply chains that are less dependent on American technology .

Arm Provided IP standard , Especially its high-end CPU IP, It is difficult to be quickly replaced in a more independent supply chain , This makes anmou's position in China's chip field special and important .

from 2018 Founded in , After that, he fell into the storm of seizing power , Anmou presents a tug of war between China and the United States , The rugged fate of a joint venture .


Special joint venture

The establishment of anmou , At first, it was the result of multi-party consensus .

The early promoter was Wu xiongang . He is in 1968 Born in Nanjing, China , Immigrated to the United States with his family in high school , Working as a chip architecture engineer at Intel , Go to Silicon Valley to start a business during the Internet boom ,2004 In, the team was incorporated into Arm, Two years later, he was sent to Arm China is responsible for sales .

Before Wu xiongang returned home ,Arm China has run 4 year , But on a small scale . After Wu xiongang took over , To 2014 year ,Arm The size of the Chinese team has expanded from more than ten people to more than 150 people , Revenue and chip shipments from downstream customers increased significantly . Wu xiongang is 2014 To join in Arm The core decision-making body ——Arm The Global Executive Committee .

Wu xiongang told 《 A bit late LatePost》, It was in this year that Arm China's strategy 2.0 During the survey , He produced Arm The idea of China becoming a joint venture , Because he saw that the downstream market of chips had begun to diverge ,Arm Our Chinese customers have more and more self-research demands :

Alibaba has developed its own cloud computing operating system and database , Want to be a server chip ( It has been realized ); Huawei Hisilicon has launched chips for switches and mobile phones .

Previous year , The founder of a Chinese mobile phone company also appeared in Wu xiongang's office in Shanghai , The biggest purpose of his trip is to clarify a problem : If you want to develop the main chip of mobile phone by yourself , how much is it? 、 How many years? .

Wu xiongang told him , At the very least 10 RMB , burn 5 To 10 year . The founder thought he could try . This attempt failed later , But last year they started a second challenge .

In order to meet the needs of Chinese customers IP A sense of security , Wu xiongang believes that a company controlled by Chinese capital should be established 、 Independent joint venture , On the one hand, continue to operate Arm IP, On the one hand, new self research IP Business . otherwise , China may have another IP a kitchen stove ,Arm Will give the market away .

The other is close to Arm Chinese people tell 《 A bit late LatePost》,2014 Around the year , towards Arm The establishment of a Chinese joint venture is also proposed by authoritative experts in China's chip industry 、 Wei Shaojun, director of Microelectronics Institute of Tsinghua University , And Ding Wenwu, director of the electronic information department of the Ministry of industry and information technology , He himself 2014 Since, he has also served as the national large fund ( National integrated circuit industry investment fund ) President .

But from then on 2016 year , The joint venture has made slow progress , because “IP yes Arm The lifeblood of ”,“Arm More worried about China's intellectual property protection environment ”, The people said . This may pave the way for later contradictions .

Wu xiongang said , He uses his own “ Bifurcation ” The theory convinced Arm management layer . Chinese shareholding 51% Our joint venture plan is in 2016 It was delivered to Arm executive committee , With the consent of the whole staff , Then it will take effect after the approval of the board of Directors . The resolutions of the board of directors are generally consistent with those of the Executive Committee .

but 2016 year 9 month , With the wholly-owned acquisition of Softbank group Arm,Arm The original attitude of global management is less important , It is the new boss, sun Zhengyi, who has the final say .

Son Zhengyi has a point of view : Last 30 years , The three indicators that have profoundly influenced the world are CPU Calculate the force , Size of storage medium and communication speed , Their growth rate is 100 ten thousandfold .Arm Just in the key position of the chip industry that provides computing power .

Initial post acquisition 3 In the months , Son Zhengyi organizes... In Tokyo every month Arm Strategy meeting . According to Wu xiongang , At the first strategy meeting , Sun Zhengyi decided to continue to promote Chinese joint ventures , And clearly support the Chinese side to hold .

Sun Zhengyi used to invest in Chinese companies such as Alibaba , It's paid off handsomely . Make money by forming joint ventures of international giants in a certain market , Sun Zhengyi also has successful experience . Zeng Ruyin 1996 Yahoo Japan was founded with Yahoo in , With 7200 Million US dollars in shares 51%, Yahoo global shares 35%. In the second year , Yahoo Japan logs into NASDAQ ,6 Years later, it was listed in Japan , The current market value is about 300 Billion dollars , Yahoo global is already 2017 In the past years 45 Billion dollars to be acquired .

An investment document reported by Japanese media shows that , Anmou planned to start as early as 2021 In, it was independently listed in China's capital market .

Can support a company providing industry standards in the rising Chinese chip market , For son Zhengyi and Softbank, it also means industry influence . Sun Zhengyi, who has been keen on investing in scientific and technological innovation for many years, wants to deeply participate in the great changes in the world .

At that time , Sun Zhengyi 、Arm And Wu Xiong Angda have reached a consensus on action , The specific plan of the joint venture is finalized as follows :

The total valuation of anmou is 100 RMB 100 million ,Arm holding 49%. Chinese investors take shares with funds , Total shareholding 51%. One of them is shareholding 36% Hopu Fund , According to a person familiar with the matter , Its investor is Shenzhen state-owned assets ; Another Chinese shareholder is the shareholder 15% Anchuang investment , Investors include some Chinese system software 、 Terminal company , Wu xiongang is the manager .[1] The two Chinese shareholders are acting in concert , To ensure that the Chinese capital controls the joint venture . Anmou also set up a team 13.3% Options for , In the future, it will be drawn from the share ratio of each shareholder .

Anmou will have Arm IP Exclusive license in Chinese Mainland , That is, mainland customers can only buy through anmou Arm IP, And anmou can be based on Arm Independent research and development of technical architecture ;Arm Then you have an idea and self-study IP Overseas exclusive license .

After a year of legal process , An MOU finally 2018 year 4 Month officially established .

2016 Around the year , In the field of information technology in China, a number of joint ventures controlled by Chinese capital have also been born : Purple light and HP 、 Inspur and Cisco 、 CETC and Microsoft have established joint ventures .

The particularity of anmou is , It is not two Chinese and foreign giants “ To unite to marriage ” The product of , Among them, the capital shareholders are funds that do not operate the industry .

Establishment and of other joint ventures 2013 About the prism gate that broke out in , The main purpose is to return the products of foreign companies to the Chinese government and enterprise market . The purpose of anmou's establishment also includes the independent development of new IP, To serve China's commercial customers .

Special operation objectives and matching equity design , Let anmou obtain the identity of independent development , But it also sows seeds for contradictions —— There are many stakeholders in this company 、 In companies with different demands , No one has both equity and operational control .

Like a delicate but fragile snowflake , Once the environment changes , Temporary stability will fall apart .


Unsuccessful recall

The public outbreak of the storm of anmou seizing power , yes 2020 year 6 month . Half a month ago , The United States has upgraded its ban on Huawei , The new ban will be in the same year 9 Effective month . When the , TSMC will no longer be able to contract for Huawei , Huawei can no longer develop high-end chip business .

Over the past few decades , Global cooperation dominated by market factors 、 Technology flow and industrial transfer have reached a turning point .

Whether the change of macro environment is directly related to the storm of an MOU seizing power ? None of the parties explicitly mentioned . Open dispute is an internal problem of anmou .

2020 year 6 month 10 The morning of 10 spot ,Arm Make a statement , Said already in 6 month 4 The board of directors of anmou was held on the th , With 7:1 Vote for the removal of Wu xiongang , Because his behavior has something to do with anmou “ Conflict of interest ”, And two temporary co chairs have been appointed CEO. Magnolia officinalis supported Arm.

stay Arm Statement issued less than 1 Hours later, , Anmou issued a statement saying that there was no personnel change in the company , Wu xiongang will continue to lead anmou .

Later reports said ,Arm The specific reason for dissatisfaction with Wu xiongang is , He was in 2019 In, he established an investment fund in his personal capacity Alphatecture, The fund uses Arm Industry position fundraising , And invested in some accelerator projects under anmou . The board was kept in the dark .

Alphatecture I was in 2019 Invest in hengxuan Technology 1.27 RMB 100 million , Accounting for stock 3.2%, This company is also anmou's customer . Heng Xuanzai 2020 Listing on year-end , The current market value is about 140 RMB 100 million .

Wu xiongang said he set up a fund , The board of directors of anmou knows and agrees that . He thinks that , The real source of contradiction is ,Arm Not adapted to the past, the subordinate department has become an independent joint venture .

A person close to anmou told 《 A bit late LatePost》, stay Arm in sb.'s eyes , Wu xiong'ang “ Not obedient ”.Arm The way to get income from anmou is IP Sales share . The Chinese market is growing fast 、 demand ,Arm The management suspected that there was less money . from 2019 From the end of the year ,Arm Ask Wu xiongang to provide anmou's customer and operation information to understand the sales situation in more detail , But Wu xiongang thinks it goes beyond Arm The right to know as an Mou's shareholder , Without consent .

Softbank as Arm Parent company , stay 2020 year 6 There was no clear statement in the dispute in January .

In the specific operation of seizing power ,Arm And Wu xiongang seem to have rushed into the storm .

Lawyer Wang Xi ( alias ), Handled many business disputes , since 2019 He has been the legal adviser of anmou since . He told 《 A bit late LatePost》, Take the initiative Arm There should be more preparation , But they did not control anmou's official seal in advance . Without the official seal, there can be no industrial and commercial change , This makes Arm Lost the opportunity to actually take over anmou .

Wu xiongang said , He didn't expect , The contradiction will intensify into an open war . He found the difference because he was   2020 year 5 At the end of the month , Due to audit problems, I made an appointment with 3 An MOU Manager , But this 3 No one attended the meeting , Instead, he took the company's computer and left the Shanghai Office .

An MOU said , They later in one of them's company mailbox cloud backup , Found him and Arm Some communication records about Wu xiongang from the headquarters . Things have a catch in it somewhere , Wu xiongang cancelled the original plan to 6 month 4 Anmou's regular Board of Directors .

Wang Xi said , Wu xiongang's move helped himself : Because before the recall , The board of directors has been cancelled , 6 month 4 There is no convener for the meeting on the th , The legitimacy of the procedure is in doubt .

Anchuang, one of the shareholders of anmou controlled by Wu xiongang, later sued anmou , Advocate ruling 2020 year 6 The monthly board process is invalid , The Shenzhen court accepted the case , Not yet adjudicated .

Nearly two years after the recall storm , The battle for power has entered a stalemate .

Anmou continued to operate as usual during this period , Updated the mission last year 、 vision 、 sense of worth , Released a new strategy , Upgraded self research IP; It's more and more like an independent startup . Wu xiongang controls the actual operation .

We are in this year 2 When I came to the office building of anmou in Caohejing science and technology oasis in Shanghai in June , There is no trace of gunsmoke here . On the memorabilia display board on the first floor , It records Wu xiongang 2006 Achievements of leading the team since . Waiting for the interview , We made room for a meeting that was about to begin ; The day before , We met a group of government officials who were visiting .

The team is still expanding , Guests visit as usual , A small group in the restaurant is celebrating a colleague's birthday . Less than an hour later , We met Wu xiongang .2020 When the storm first happened in , Meet and talk with him , He is cautious in his words . But this year 2 In that interview last month , He talks more relaxed 、 at will :

“ It's been two years now ? Has the board ever held any meeting to investigate me ? No, .”“ Said the employee had a report letter , Is there in the company system ? No, .”“ The downstream is forked , The chips are all their own , Should the structure have local voice ?”

Less than 3 After a month , The temporary stability is broken . Anmou completed the industrial and commercial change without the old official seal and business license , A new legal representative was appointed . This time, , Softbank has a clear attitude : Replace Wu xiongang .


Do the right thing in the big wave

Before the latest industrial and commercial changes put Wu xiongang at a disadvantage , His confidence is related to his deep relationship with Chinese customers .

2020 After the first storm of seizing power in ,Arm Two new co chairs appointed CEO Customers who have visited anmou one by one , Tell them that there are legal risks in cooperating with Wu xiongang again , It is not ruled out that the power supply will be cut off in the future . Someone questioned in person :“ We have been doing business with them for more than ten years , who are you ?”

In the ten years before that , Wu xiongang and he built Arm The Chinese team has supported the growth of a number of chip companies . Wu xiong'ang 2006 When he returned to China in , Most of these enterprises are in the initial stage . Wu xiongang established business trust with these entrepreneurs .

The first group to find Arm China buys a full set IP Local companies that made big chips included a number of companies that mainly made MP3 And the company that controls the main chip of the repeater .2008 year , When Wu xiongang visited these customers , Some of them are small companies with a size of about 100 people .MP3 How much is a chip , Selling several can't buy a cup of coffee . Buy a full set IP want 2000 More than $ , It means that a project will almost run out of working capital .

Wu xiongang admires the adventurous spirit of these Chinese Entrepreneurs , He told them what he saw : Previous year , Google released the Android operating system source code ,Arm It can also provide IP Development support , This is a low-end 、 A shot to change a place's broken product route to the opportunity of platform development of high-end chips .

at that time Arm What China wants to promote in the Chinese market “ Platform type ” Development , Is based on a core CPU framework , With different peripheral chips , Like correspondence 、USB Interface chip , Make up different integrated chips , namely SoC(Systems on Chips, System level chips )

It can be designed with the same set of core , Support for mobile phones 、 Flat 、 Computers and other different terminals .Arm Apple, the earliest big customer, adopted this approach . among ,CPU Be responsible for scheduling computing resources and managing tasks , yes SoC The most critical and difficult chip to develop ,Arm Provided CPU IP Can help customers handle this part .

To promote cooperation with these Chinese companies , Wu xiongang said that he had won over from the headquarters that had not been opened to Chinese chip companies before IP Source code permissions . The legal department of the company believes that there are risks : China's intellectual property protection is not strict , Give me a 100 People's small company source code , In case they go bankrupt , Will these people run away with the code ? But not yet retired Arm One of the founders and President Tudor · Mr Brown (Tudor Brown) Very supportive ,Arm In the past, it developed by supporting start-ups to become bigger .

Arm Another important move of China , It is to help Chinese chip companies contact Google and other companies that master the operating system —— The chip also needs the support of the operating system . Between Chinese start-ups and foreign giants ,Arm China is a bridge .

Cooperation with these companies also helps Arm Expanded its territory in the mobile Internet .Arm The key to success is 2012 Years later, , It has realized the dominance of Android ecosystem .

And PC In the era, Microsoft and Intel rely on commercial cooperation to form Wintel The alliance is different , Android is not related to Arm binding , Android now supports MIPS Instruction set , In theory, it also supports Intel led x86 [2].

Arm By expanding the list of customers and the number of developers , I won my place in the Android ecosystem . Mobile Internet is developing rapidly 、 The huge Chinese market , Played an important role in this process .

Arm The third important thing for the Chinese team is to put Arm CPU IP To some mobile phones 、 Terminals outside the tablet .

2012 year ,Arm China organized a cross-border ecological integration conference in Shanghai Peace Hotel , Put the chip 、 Software 、 Content providers and operators get together to discuss new business directions . meeting 3 After a month ,Arm China supports content providers and chip manufacturers to launch smart TV boxes .

At that time, Google officials did not support mobile phones 、 Android outside the tablet ,Arm China will find some third-party software providers , Transplanted Android into TV . Before that 2011 year ,Arm China has promoted Arm Invested with Qualcomm in Zhongke Chuangda, a software manufacturer , do Arm IP And Android on new devices .

Beyond consumer electronics ,2010 From the year onwards ,Arm China supports Huawei Hisilicon's self-developed base station chip , Entered the enterprise market .

Arm The main battlefield is mobile phones and other mobile devices , On the chip IP The requirement is low power consumption , Usually single core , At best 4 nucleus . The base station chip requires multi-core and high performance , Its software system is also different from mobile devices .

At that time, Huawei's self-developed... Was used in Huawei's base station SingleRAN Software solution , It solves 3G towards 4G In transition , Compatibility of different intergenerational networks . rely on SingleRAN, Previously, Huawei, which ranked fourth in the world in terms of revenue from communication equipment business, surpassed Ericsson 、 nokia 、 Siemens , stay 4G Universal 2014 Ascended the top spot in .Arm  IP The base station chip is SingleRAN Provides hardware layer support .

Worldwide ,Arm The important growth point in recent years is the same need for multi-core high-performance IP Server chip market , Its usage scenario is mainly cloud computing data center . This was originally Intel 、AMD Site . But in cloud computing pioneers AWS( Amazon Web Services ) On 2018 Launched in, based on Arm Of Graviton After a series of , Cloud computing companies have followed this trend : Kunpeng of Huawei 、 Ali's reliance on heaven is Arm Architecture of the server chip .

Arm China's ecological construction actions also include : Open some free IP For teaching and research in Colleges and universities , So that students will use... Before graduation Arm;2014 In, he began to do an Chuang accelerator to support start-ups , Horizon 、 Semen sesami nigrum 、 Xijing technology and others are accelerator members .

One used MIPS IP, Later also used Arm IP Chinese chip companies CEO tell 《 A bit late LatePost》,2006 in ,MIPS China team and Arm The size of the Chinese team is quite , But later MIPS The scale and volume of are getting smaller and smaller , Its technology is no better than Arm Bad ,Arm Win in ecology .

He thinks he is in Wu xiongang's position , Not everyone can get enough resources from the headquarters ;Arm China is stronger than the period of vigorous development of China's mobile Internet , It's hard to say that times make heroes , Or heroes make the times , Wu xiongang did the right thing :“ You can also do something wrong in a big wave .”

Wang Xi, an Mou's legal adviser, once met Wu xiongang at a hotel in Beijing , Until then, , Wu xiongang also made an appointment with a group of friends from the Chinese Academy of Sciences . Wang Xi saw that among these people , People older than Wu xiongang also respect him .“ He has a high position in this environment .” Wang Xi said , He understood that Wu xiongang didn't want to leave anmou .


May return to the origin

near 2 After years of deadlock , The trigger for the latest industrial and commercial changes of anmou is Arm Changes in capital .

2020 year 9 Since the month , Softbank has been seeking to Arm With more than 600 It's sold to GPU Giant NVIDIA . The deal was opposed by governments and most chip companies , In this year 2 month 8 The official suspension of . Softbank immediately sought to let Arm Separate listing , get 600 Valuation of more than US $100 million .

Softbank urgently needs to pass Arm Go public and realize 、 Boost performance . According earnings information ,2021 The first three quarters of the year (2021 year 4 Month to 12 month ), Softbank's net profit is 3926 Billion yen ( About us 200 RMB 100 million ), fell 87%. The second quarter , Softbank's vision fund suffered a loss of 8251 Billion yen ( About us 419.28 RMB ), This is the biggest loss of the fund since its establishment .

To tell a good listing story , The dispute over anmou must be settled .2021 year , Anmou contributed Arm About a fifth of the income . According to the official information of anmou , since 2018 Founded in 2003 2021 year , Anmou's revenue increased 250%. At the same time ,Arm Revenue has been 2000 Billion yen ( About us 100 RMB ) Head start , Four years of growth 3.7%, And only 2019 Annual profits , The remaining three years are losses .

Softbank has two options , First, cooperate with Wu xiongang , Wu xiongang's chip is to cooperate with Arm   list ; Second, replace Wu xiongang , Softbank's chip is right Arm IP Mastery .

Wu xiongang once believed that the first situation would happen . In this year 2 Monthly acceptance 《 A bit late LatePost》 In an interview , He said that sun Zhengyi had promised him that he would not change the equity of anmou .“ We will support Arm list , I also hope they will support us .” Wu xiongang said at that time .

Just a few days before the industrial and commercial change ,4 month 25 Japan , Wu xiongang sent a letter to all staff , Synchronize the rapid development of the company with the employees , He said that he had completed the... Set at the time of establishment in advance 5 In target .

An employee told 《 A bit late LatePost》, He thought the company was promising ,“ Very confident ”.

But Softbank chose the second way .4 month 29 Japan , Soft silver and Arm Officially announce the completion of industrial and commercial change , A new CEO. The official seal and business license are required for industrial and commercial changes , These documents are under Wu xiongang's control . Industrial and commercial changes also require the unanimous resolution of the board of Directors , According to the 《 A bit late LatePost》 A law firm's statement obtained , Some directors of the company have not received the notice of the board meeting related to the industrial and commercial change .Arm Spokesman said , The board of directors reached a unanimous resolution according to law , Did not disclose the specific personnel participating in the board of Directors .

An entrepreneur once commented on :“ Softbank is not anyone's ally , It's the hand behind everyone .”

This year, 3 month ,Arm And Softbank are already pushing forward to Arm The equity of anmou held was transferred to a Softbank 、Arm A jointly controlled SPV . There are media reports said , It is this equity transfer , Prompted the relevant governments to change their attitude a week before the industrial and commercial change , Choose to support Softbank . After equity transfer ,“Arm Will be treated like other purchases IP Treat anmou like our customers ”.

Arm Spokesman said , This transfer is for accounting purposes , The transfer has occurred , Will register in due course . Anmou will continue to have Arm IP Exclusive license in Chinese Mainland , The mode of cooperation will not change .

An executive of a Chinese chip company told 《 A bit late LatePost》, He believes that even if Softbank dominates anmou , Nor will it affect Chinese companies' understanding of Arm IP Continue to use , Because Softbank cannot give up the Chinese market , The more fundamental issue is still China US relations :“Arm Always under the control of the United States , It is even more so after the listing of US stocks .”

Arm Headquartered in the UK , But some technologies are developed in the United States .2019 in , Once there was news Arm Will be cut off from Huawei , It didn't happen in the end . a Arm Former Chinese executives told 《 A bit late LatePost》, This is because Arm After their own internal review , Think that among the products sold to Huawei , The proportion of American technology is insufficient 25%, Not subject to the ban at that time . But it also says something Arm It will indeed consider the compliance requirements put forward by the U.S. government .

After the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine ,Arm This year 3 In June, it announced that the supply to Russia was cut off . This shows how global business activities can be influenced by political factors .

The more direct impact of an's struggle to seize power is , The self research business that anmou has focused on in the past four years has become uncertain .

so far , Anmou self research team has launched AI chip IP Zhouyi 、 Security chip IP Mountain and sea 、 Video chip IP Exquisite 、 The embedded CPU IP Stars and other products , And in 2020 At the end of the year, the self-study idea was updated , Make it clear “ Two wheel drive ” New strategy : One round is to continue selling 、 Support Arm IP; Another round is to do “ Customized + platform ” Self developed series of products .

Whole 2021 year , Anmou has made frequent moves around the new strategy :

· 3 month , Wu xiongang is 3 The new strategy was synchronized with the security personnel at the annual conference .

· 6 month , Update the vision 、 mission 、 sense of worth . The vision is “ Become the ecological leader of Intelligent Computing in China ”, The mission is “ Create core value ”, The values are “ innovation 、 Empower 、 ecology ”. The value dimension has been added to the employee evaluation system .

· 8 month , Release the new strategy of two wheel drive , And release some self-developed new brands “ Core power ”.

· 9 month , Start the first major organizational adjustment since the establishment of anmou , Support in R & D system Arm IP The same part of , Support self research IP Our team is divided into three , A R & D standard product , A platform in the new strategy 、 Custom products , One to do advanced technology ; The sales system is divided by scene instead of by region , Including cars and infrastructure ( Autopilot 、 Data Center 、 The base station , The common requirement is high computing power )、 Smart Internet of things ( Relatively small Internet of things devices such as cameras )、 Mobile phones and clients ( mobile phone 、 Flat 、 Locomotive, etc ).

In the summary article released on the official account of anmou technology after the fourth anniversary meeting , The first part highlights the achievements of self-study : It said that its self-developed product line has obtained more than 100 A local customer , among 30 Our customers have produced in mass production , Last year, chip shipments exceeded 1 Billion pieces , expect 2022 The annual revenue of self research business will exceed 7 RMB 100 million .

Anmou's self-developed products are mainly for the intelligent Internet of things market , This is sun Zhengyi's hope Arm The direction of vigorous expansion , But it's not going well .2020 In the middle of , Softbank had planned to spin off Arm Internet of things service business , Give Way Arm Focus on core chip research and development , To reduce losses , Improve performance , Pave the way for capital operation . In the Internet of things IP On , An MOU and Arm Have certain product competition relationship .

A series of changes of anmou are summarized as “ Go to Arm turn ” . However, the core value of anmou still comes from Arm IP Exclusive license for . In an interview with the media last year, Wu xiongang revealed that an mou 2021 The overall income in is close to 7 Billion dollars . It can be calculated , The proportion of revenue from self-developed products is still insufficient 20%. But the self research team currently has 400 Many people , Half of the total number of companies .

According to the 《 A bit late LatePost》 A letter signed by Liu Renchen and Chen Xun 、 Sign off 4 month 29 Letter from all members of the staff on , Two new CEO promise : The self-developed products and business of anmou products will not change ; There are no plans to implement organizational restructuring and mandatory layoffs .

But Softbank and Arm The current financial situation is poor , And we need to cut expenses for better listing performance . This year, 3 month 14 Japan ,Arm Announce plans for a round of 12%-15% Proportional layoffs , Involving super 700 Employees . The above research will continue 、 The promise not to force layoffs does not dispel the concerns of anmou employees .

According to the 《 A bit late LatePost》 understand , Some chip companies also judge , Some self-developed talents of anmou will flow out actively or passively , They plan to step up “ Go talk ”.

A company that is negotiating authorization with anmou , Cooperation involves self-study IP, The company said it was still docking with its original business head , But I wonder if the cooperation progress will be affected .

After Softbank takes the lead , As a joint venture, anmou does not rule out returning to the original point , Become more like the past Arm China —— Become Arm IP Sales agencies in China .

This is not Softbank and Wu xiongang 2016 When anmou was founded in , Imagine the future . For sun Zhengyi at that time , One has many years of business relationship in China's chip market 、 Old Taoist experience , Have ambition 、 Ambitious people are the right people to manage anmou , He may enable the new joint venture to achieve much more business value than the sales subsidiaries .

At that time , Global business cooperation is still moving forward , The exit path of transnational capital is more unobstructed , There are more ways .

But less than two years later , Trade between China and the United States 、 Technological competition broke out . This has accelerated the development of anmou : Huawei's experience has stimulated an unprecedented upsurge of chip investment in China , A large number of chip start-ups have been born in China , Many technology giants began to develop their own chips . This is an Mou in Arm The external environment of the global market . This also inspired Wu xiongang to put more efforts into Arm Self research business outside . But that's why ,Arm More and more want to better control the rapid development 、 Revenue in the Chinese market, which accounts for an increasing proportion of its revenue . here , One is not very popular with Softbank and Arm The person in charge of security strategy under control is out of time .

4 month 29 On the afternoon of Sunday 1 Some more , In soft silver 、Arm Announced industrial and commercial changes 5 Hours later, , Wu xiongang urgently summoned the security staff to hold an online meeting . During the question period , Some people say , Joining anmou values being able to rely on Arm Ecological self-study ; Someone asked Wu xiongang :“ Can the company develop independently in the future ?”.

Wu xiongang, who once showed confidence in controlling anmou, now gives a vague answer :“ No matter what the final result is ,( Anmou ) The strength of the team has been shown , I believe everyone can do well .”

- FIN -

* The interview with Wu xiongang in this article took place in the middle of last year 2 month .

[1] Arm Of 49% Shareholding includes Arm Limited(47.3%) and Arm Ecosystem Holdings(1.7%). Anchuang's 15% The shareholding includes Anchuang growth equity investment partnership in Ningbo Meishan free trade port area (13.3%)、TL1016 Technology Limited(1.2%) And anmou investment management partnership in Ningbo Meishan free trade port area (0.5%).

[2] Instruction set instruction set can be understood as a set of design CPU The basic rules of the chip . If chip design is an expressed word , Instruction set is syntax .

Arm CPU IP Use ARM Instruction set ,MIPS Company use MIPS Instruction set , Intel and AMD Use x86 Instruction set .RISC-V Is an open source instruction set , Not dominated by a single commercial company .

MIPS The company is taught by Stanford University John Hennessy Founded in 1984 year , Later, the consortium changed hands several times . last year ,MIPS Announce the abandonment of further development MIPS Instruction set IP, Switch to RISC-V Instruction set .

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