RMA announced over the weekend that SoftBank had successfully regained control of its ARM China division, which had drifted under the leadership of the CEO Allen Wu. ARM China is the SoftBank company that manages the activities of Arm Ltd. in the Chinese region. This means that ARM can use all the licenses and development done on the mainland under SoftBank’s supervision and continue to operate. However, the now former President/CEO of said division worked independently of the company.
The move is seen as an important step in resolving a two-year dispute that threatened to derail the chip designer’s plans to go public after Nvidia’s failed takeover attempt.
Now, all of those issues are a thing of the past, as SoftBank was able to unanimously replace him by appointing Dr. Renchen Liu, along with Eric Chen, as two co-CEOs. Dr. Liu is vice-dean of the Research Institute of Tsinghua University in Shenzhen and has been registered as a business manager and general manager by the Shenzhen agency.
Eric Chen is Managing Partner of SoftBank Vision Fund and assists Dr. Liu in business operations. Of course, after communicating this decision, Allen Wu released a letter signed by 430 employees in which he stated that there were errors in the application of the law in his replacement process and that he would continue to run the company. After the official announcement, the Chinese authorities could already get involved if necessary, and this dispute is not new, since since 2020 charges have been laid.
“He refused to step down and continued to retain control of the company, complicating ARM’s efforts to audit the unit’s finances, which is crucial for its planned IPO,” Reuters revealed. “Wu told Chinese news outlet ijiwei.com that efforts by ARM and SoftBank to remove him from office were illegal.”