China’s Company Chop System and Risks to Foreign Investors

Since June 2020, a fight over the control of the China subsidiary of ARM, a leading semiconductor company, has centered around the possession of the company chop. ARM was reported to have fired its head of China, Allen Wu, who is still registered as the legal representative of ARM China. With control over the company chop and business licenses, Wu would seem to have a powerful weapon to use as a bargaining chip with ARM’s shareholders outside of China, even though there is no doubt he will eventually be removed from his position. How can physical possession of the company chop cause so much trouble for ARM’s shareholders?
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