Alibaba and other Chinese companies will no longer be able to purchase some of the most advanced chip designs from British company ARM due to concerns that the U.S. and U.K. will not approve the export of the technology to China.
The decision from ARM comes two months after the U.S. implemented strict export controls to prevent China from obtaining advanced chips or the technology and equipment necessary to manufacture high-end semiconductors domestically. The decision was made by ARM after determining that the performance of its Neoverse V series was too high to be approved for sale to Chinese entities such as Alibaba's T-Head chip unit. This decision will impact other Chinese companies in addition to Alibaba as well.
ARM is known for designing advanced RISC architectures for chips used in a variety of products, including smartwatches and supercomputers. While ARM does not manufacture processors itself, it sells its designs to companies like TSMC and Samsung. The company's latest Neoverse V2 core is its most powerful to date and is believed to have been developed in the United States.
This is the first time that ARM has determined that it cannot export its most advanced designs to China. The Neoverse V falls under the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral agreement involving 42 nations that aims to prevent dual-use technology from being used for military purposes. In order to sell this technology to China, ARM would need to obtain export licenses from both the U.S. and the U.K.
Earlier this week, China filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization regarding the export controls implemented by the US. The US government views YMTC, a Chinese semiconductor company, as a "national champion", so it is likely that the decision by ARM to not sell its most advanced designs to China will be met with strong opposition from the Chinese government.
Source: Financial Times (paywall)