China is slowing down NVIDIA's ARM acquisition

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • NVIDIA is attempting to acquire ARM.
  • Regulatory bodies around the world are ensuring the process is slow going.
  • China's regulators haven't even begun their formal review of the deal yet.

NVIDIA's ARM acquisition isn't doomed yet, but the obstacles standing in its way aren't exactly blowing over. Take, for example, the recent situation with EU regulators wherein NVIDIA missed the July boat on paperwork submissions, and now all of Europe is off for summer vacation. But it's not just Brussels leaving NVIDIA, the maker of some of the best graphics cards (such as the RTX 3060 Ti), in an awkward spot; China's regulators aren't speeding proceedings along either.

As reported by The Information (opens in new tab), insiders are saying that Chinese competition regulators haven't even started their formal review of NVIDIA's proposed acquisition, which can take up to six months and spans three phases. Furthermore, given the scope of NVIDIA's deal, it may have to go through the process twice or even thrice.

What's strange about this particular case is the lack of clarity around why Chinese regulators haven't begun reviewing the case, given that NVIDIA's and ARM's filing is in. The Information speculates that one possible reason for the lack of immediate action on China's end could be that Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese licensees of ARM, oppose the deal. The extent of their voiced opposition's influence also remains unclear.

However, Huawei and ZTE aren't the only companies not digging the deal. Qualcomm has also been a voice amongst the many companies that dislike NVIDIA's current acquisition attempt.

And, to add to the pile of complications, there's the fact that ARM China is currently trying to kick out its CEO Allen Wu even though he refuses to leave, which has been the source of extended litigation stemming from the fact that Wu is, in essence, "both the plaintiff and the defendant," as stated by The Information.

In short, NVIDIA's a long way from gobbling up ARM and moving on with its operations, in no small part thanks to China and the EU taking their time with assessing the deal.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • Tbh china shouldn't get a say in anything.
  • It's that mentality that fuels abrasive and antagonistic behaviour from China. Unfortunately, the governing communist party are now so set in their ways due to prolonged uninterrupted governance antagonisim is default playbook. What didn't help matters is corporations using China as the predominant place for large scale manufacturing. Exploiting none existent labour laws and regulations.
  • He who pays the piper calls the tune. Currently, the big three are US, EU and China. I think we still get our way more often than not. But we can't take that for granted anymore.
  • China controls almost everything.
  • As someone that thinks Nvidia owning ARM will be a bad thing, I am glad.
  • Why would it be a bad thing?
  • Look at their past record.. drove 3DFX out of business with false counter suits, then purchased the carcass. Purchased Ageia for their physx then blocked the stand alone cards from working on competing platforms, etc….. What will they do with arm….
  • Not sure if it would matter much for us consumers, maybe anti-competitive prices eventually. On the bright side we may see some interesting offerings from Nvidia (especially for maybe gaming handhelds or tablets etc).