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Broadcom vs. Qualcomm, and the future of 5G technology

President Donald J. Trump’s move to block the takeover of chipmaker Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom marks a rare instance in which a U.S. president has intervened to prevent the foreign acquisition of an American firm. 

In a presidential order, Trump said there was “credible evidence” to show the takeover might “impair the national security of the United States.” The deal, valued at around $146bn (FT), would have been the largest technology takeover ever.

There are concerns, however, that the block was due to China potentially leading the development in 5G wireless technology. The two companies running head-to-head in this race are U.S.-based Qualcomm and China-based Huawei (New York Times).

“While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space currently, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover,” according to a March 5 letter from U.S. Treasury Department official Aimen N. Mir, deputy assistant secretary for investment security.

“A shift to Chinese dominance in 5G would have substantial negative national security consequences for the United States,” Mir wrote.

We want your help reporting on the significance of this move, and what it means for the technological race over the future of 5G.

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Key facts central to the story

  • Qualcomm and Broadcom are among the most important producers of semiconductors and mobile chipsets. Their markets combined would have been worth in billions of dollars.
  • Politico reported that the decision to block the buyout came after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States determined that the takeover would diminish Qualcomm’s investment in 5G technology, which would play to China’s favor.
  • In January, Trump’s national security team considered nationalizing a 5G network to counter China’s threat to U.S. cybersecurity. The idea was rejected by lawmakers and top regulators for being costly and counterproductive to the United States winning the 5G race.
  • 5G is considered a national security priority by the White House (Tech Crunch).

Add to this WikiProject


Questions we’d like to explore

  • What’s unique about this potential hostile takeover?
  • What’s the significance of Trump blocking the potential buyout?
  • What is 5G and why is it so important?
  • How does this government intervention change the flow of future tech acquisitions?
  • Which company will lead the 5G race now that the deal has been prevented?

Talk (4)

Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen

"Hello Jose, well that's a very good q..."
Jose De Almada

Jose De Almada

"why keeping 5G in US hands is importa..."
Jose De Almada

Jose De Almada

"The connection China's Huawei and Fi..."

Nino Dvoršak

"9/10 It does need expanding, why kee..."

Started by

United Kingdom
Linh is a staff journalist at WikiTribune with a background in the humanities. She covers the Middle East, Asia, conflict and technology. Though based in London, she has freelanced across Asia, the UK and U.S.

History for Story "Broadcom vs. Qualcomm, and the future of 5G technology"

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13 March 2018

18:04:58, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Chuck Thompson (Updated → copyedit)
12:52:59, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → removed full stop)
12:36:55, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → changed U.S to American to avoid repetition)
12:33:22, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → publishing)
11:27:13, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → call out)
11:26:50, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → )
11:25:55, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → )
11:21:31, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → )
10:58:41, 13 Mar 2018 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → )

Talk for Story "Broadcom vs. Qualcomm, and the future of 5G technology"

Talk about this Story

  1. Rewrite

    It does need expanding, why keeping 5G in US hands is important

    1. Rewrite

      why keeping 5G in US hands is important?

      Well I’d explore the question:
      why not keeping 5G only in US hands is important?!

      Competition is good. I do not want to be in the hands of any single entity.

      1. Rewrite

        Hello Jose, well that’s a very good question. The simplest way to think about it is what would super, super, fast internet do? In this case, China and the U.S. are competing in artificial intelligence, is one example. The amount of data 5G can collect will really boost the sector of Ai.

        Competition is good, but everyone competes to win. 5G development isn’t in U.S. hands per se – lots of countries are developing it – but the U.S. and China are in the lead. From the American perspective, a takeover of Qualcomm would’ve been a bad move.

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