Qualcomm, Chinese Firm to Develop New ARM-Based Server Chip as Beijing Boosts Homegrown Tech

By Prei Dy, | January 31, 2017

Experts speculate that the technology could be based on the Falkor CPU core used in Centriq 2400, which is the first 48-core and best ARM server chip yet.

Experts speculate that the technology could be based on the Falkor CPU core used in Centriq 2400, which is the first 48-core and best ARM server chip yet.

A new ARM technology-based server chip is being developed through the partnership of Qualcomm and Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology by China's Guizhou province.

The joint venture is "now busy developing a customized server CPU product based on our technology and designs for the China market," Derek Aberle, Qualcomm's president, said as cited by a transcript obtained by Seeking Alpha.

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Although the purpose of the joint venture is not clear yet, experts speculate that the technology could be based on the Falkor CPU core used in Centriq 2400, which is the first 48-core and best ARM server chip yet.

A spokesperson from Qualcomm said that Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology is separately developing its own CPU technology. It would likely take Qualcomm's tech and customize CPU for local consumers, Nathan Brookwood, a principal analyst from Insight 64, said.

Meanwhile, they are not the only firms developing custom chips for the Chinese market. For instance, Suzhou PowerCore is also trying to produce a CEPU based on IBM's Power architecture. AMD, on the other hand, formed a joint venture to develop a Chinese x86 server chip.

While several chipmakers including tech giants like Facebook and Google are eyeing on the Chinese market, local companies prefer to buy their hardware on local Chinese vendors because of its relatively cheap price and fewer national security risks, the PC World reported.

Moreover, China wants to wean its hardware market from foreign firms, with a majority of the devices in the country run on homegrown components. China has already developed the TaihuLight, the world's fastest supercomputer.


Local firms such as Alibaba and Tencent are building mega data centers for cloud and machine-learning services. Another firm called Tsinghua Unigroup is also establishing a $30 billion chip plant and investing $4.3 billion in a city to serve the factory.

"The Chinese have been transparent about their desire to have a strong, indigenous semiconductor industry because they have spent so much importing this stuff," Brookwood said.

The Chinese government also committed in 2014 to allocate $150 billion over the next decade to boost its own semiconductor market.

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