Chip designer ARM Holdings PLC, which has close ties to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), plans to increase its investments in Taiwan, owner Masayoshi Son said on Saturday.
The Japanese billionaire and founder of Softbank Group Corp said that he wants to relist ARM within five years, reintroducing stock markets to the British chipmaker that his company bought for US$32 billion in 2016.
Softbank has not yet decided where the public offering would be held, Son told a technology forum in Taipei.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
In his first public speech in Taiwan, Son said that artificial intelligence (AI) and the information revolution represent the biggest shift in human history, with AI set to dominate technology development trends and improve human lives, rather than take away jobs.
After the forum, which had the theme “Transformation of global technology industries and capital flows,” Son told reporters that ARM would expand its investments in Taiwan in areas such as the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles, and would hire more engineers, as well as research and development specialists.
The performance of the nation’s semiconductor and technology industries has been outstanding, he said.
Founded in 1990, ARM quietly grew into the UK’s largest listed tech company before Softbank’s takeover. It designs chips that are licensed to the world’s largest technology companies, and, as a result, just about every smartphone, mobile phone and tablet runs on an ARM chip.
On ARM’s relationship with China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為), which is facing US restrictions, Son said that ARM respects both the US and the firm’s links with China.
The British chipmaker is complying with US restrictions on Huawei and is seeking clarification on them, Son said.
In response to a question by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) on maximizing returns on government-run funds, Son said that there are low-risk methods such as system reform, expert recruitment and maintaining a goal of high returns.
Son said that he would be willing to offer his investment experience and ideas to help the government improve the performance of its national pension fund.
Gou is seeking to obtain the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) nomination to become its presidential candidate in next year’s election.
One of the main planks of Gou’s platform has been restoring benefits to retired military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers, which were cut last year to help keep the financially strapped pension system afloat.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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