Arm China has managed to replace CEO Allen Wu, after he was dismissed by the company’s board two years ago.
As reported by PC Gamer, Wu has been able to stick around at Arm China due to his possession of the company’s seal stamp, called a ‘chop’. A ‘chop’ is a centuries-old business practice that’s similar to a formal signature in the west, and his possession of it essentially allowed him to ignore anything the board asked.
Arm China is a joint venture between Arm, a UK-based chip designer owned by Japanese firm Softbank, and the Chinese investment firm called Hopu. The board wanted to get rid of Wu due to concerns over a conflict of interest, though Wu denies this even now. While he was technically removed in June 2020, he denied he was fired too.
According to PC Gamer, Wu went as far as attempting to fire his board-appointed replacements, allegedly installing his own security team at Arm China’s Shanghai offices to keep out Arm and Hopu representatives. There was also a report that Arm China claimed independence from Arm entirely, supposedly even setting up its own R&D department.
In order to fully get Wu out, the board at Arm China has replaced him with two new CEOs, Liu Renchen, and Eric Chen. The problem with the chop is that in the eyes of those in power in China’s Shenzhen region, Wu having possession over it gave him the ability to sign off on legal documents.
But now, the Shenzhen government has accepted Liu as the company’s legal representative. This means a new company chop will be created, and Wu will be unable to act as he pleases.