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  • Jack Lau

ARM, a successful UK university spin off, sold to Softbank for US$32B. They started nearly the same

I have always had tremendous respect for ARM, the fabless company, which has designed the core processor for almost everything we use today. The history of ARM is worth studying. It is, to the best of my knowledge, closely tied to Cambridge University. If you look at the web site of Cambridge, they will tell you that it is a spin off from Cambridge. (source:

ARM is now about 4000 people; and has started as a spin off from Cambridge with Apple and VLSI (a silicon valley fabless design company) in the 1990. Its customers include Qualcomm (so essentially all mobile phones), Apple, Samsung and numerous others. It reported a revenue of 1.5 of Billion British pounds, and 340 million British pounds.

I must say that it is most interesting because it is (a) a university spin off, (b) a British fabless silicon company (it was not a silicon valley to start out with), (c) a company with world wide top customers, and (d) a company with very consistent performance despite competition for 26 years already.

It was founded roughly the year HKUST was established.

Wall Street Journal has a very good coverage.



ARM目前有約4千人,是在1990年由劍橋大學、蘋果和VLSI (一家矽谷的無晶圓廠半導體設計公司)合作完成的公司。它的客戶包括高通(每一部手提電話上必須要有的物料之一)、蘋果、三星等。

在1990年它的客戶分拆與蘋果和VLSI(矽谷的無晶圓廠半導體設計公司)包括高通(所以基本上所有的手機),蘋果,三星和無數人。據報導有15 億英鎊,與 3.4億英鎊收入。


ARM 與香港科技大學在相若的時間成立。


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