Ex-Arm boss exits Chinese chipmaker amid US-China tensions

Tudor Brown steps down from board of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation after nine-year run.

Tudor Brown
Tudor Brown has resigned from the board of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation [File: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg]

Tudor Brown, the former president of Arm Ltd., has resigned from the board of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., stepping away from the Chinese chipmaker that has been hit with US sanctions.

Brown, a celebrated engineer who was part of Arm’s founding, is leaving SMIC after nine years on its board. He disclosed the move on his LinkedIn page.

“Bitter sweet day today. After 9 years I resigned from SMIC board. The international divide has further widened,” he wrote.

Brown, who’s also a director at top Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd., was a key executive at Arm from 1990 till May 2012, according to this LinkedIn profile. That was before SoftBank Group Corp. acquired the British firm in 2016.

Brown and SMIC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

SMIC is among a raft of Chinese semiconductor manufacturers contending with steadily tightening US export restrictions as Washington tries to contain Beijing’s technological rise. That’s on top of rapidly crumbling global electronics demand, as consumers leave a pandemic-era boom behind.

In response, homegrown firms have attempted to develop alternatives to American silicon. The Shanghai-based contract chipmaker has succeeded in advancing its production technology two generations this year to 7-nanometers, though industry experts caution that may not be based on the same standards employed by far larger rivals like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Source: Bloomberg