SoftBank-owned British chip tech firm Arm Ltd has determined that the US and Britain would not approve licences to export some of the most advanced chip designs to China, according to a Financial Times report on Wednesday.
The development means that Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group cannot buy Arm’s latest Neoverse V series because its performance was too high, the report added.
This is the first known time that Arm has decided it could not export its most cutting-edge designs to China, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Arm launched its next generation of data centre chip technology called Neoverse V2 earlier this year to meet the explosive growth of data from 5G and internet-connected gadgets.
Over the past year, Arm has released several new core designs, including Neoverse N2 and Neoverse V1 and V2, the latter of which are the highest-performance cores to date, the report said.
Chinese companies have been blocked from purchasing Neoverse V2 and its previous generation V1 because of the US and UK export controls that are connected to technologies listed under Wassenaar, an agreement that limits the movement of “dual-use” technologies sought for both peaceful and military purposes, FT said, citing people briefed on the reasoning behind the move.
Alibaba and Arm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The development comes two months after the US published a sweeping set of export controls to slow Beijing’s technological and military advances. They include a measure to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with US tools.
A White House official revealed on Monday that the US was working to rope in its allies, including Netherlands and Japan, in its ongoing chip war against China.
The Biden administration also plans to place Chinese chip maker Yangtze Memory Technologies and 35 other Chinese firms on a trade blacklist that would prevent them from buying certain American components, according to separate reports on Tuesday.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena