Failed Pulsic bid another setback to China’s EDA ambitions

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

U.K. regulators have blocked the acquisition of EDA firm Pulsic by a Shanghai-based developer of semiconductor design software solutions.

China’s quest for a homegrown semiconductor industry has come across another roadblock, this time with a halt to an acquisition attempt of a British EDA outfit. It also reveals a labyrinth of Chinese companies carefully layered on each other while being backed by the $50 billion state-backed National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, also known as the “Big Fund.”

According to a Bloomberg story, British regulators have blocked the acquisition of the EDA firm Pulsic by a Shanghai-based developer of semiconductor design software named Super Orange HK Holding Ltd. This two-year-old software outfit is in turn controlled by another little know company Shanghai UniVista Industrial Software Group.

The story provides some EDA industry dots that, when connected, can unravel China’s EDA ambitions. Xu Yun, the former head of Cadence’s China business and one of the most influential female chip executives in China, is a director at Super Orange HK Holding. She is also co-CEO at UniVista, where her fellow co-CEO is Pan Jianyue, who led Synopsys’ China and Asia Pacific business before joining this chip design software firm.

Pulsic is a privately-owned EDA company in Bristol, England, and the amount that Super Orange HK offered to buy Pulsic isn’t known. The official statement said that Pulsic’s EDA software could be used to design ICs that could potentially end up in military designs.

While the British government has blocked Huawei’s participation in 5G network deployment in the U.K. in the past, another semiconductor industry deal has now come to the spotlight: Nexperia’s purchase of Newport Wafer Fab. Investigations are ongoing regarding the acquisition of the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the U.K. by a Chinese firm, and a decision is expected in September.

This article was originally published on EDN.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.


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