Xi open to blessing Qualcomm-NXP deal


BUENOS AIRES • Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would consider approving a possible US$44 billion (RM183.92 billion) deal for Qualcomm Inc to purchase NXP Semiconductors NV if it’s brought to him again, the White House said in a statement on Saturday.

The offer was part of an agreement struck by Xi and US President Donald Trump over dinner on Saturday in Buenos Aires, where the pair negotiated a temporary ceasefire in the tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Xi told Trump “he is open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal should it again be presented to him”, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

Qualcomm scrapped its proposed US$44 billion bid for rival chip-maker NXP in July after an almost two-year wait for approval, as tensions between the US and China escalated. Chinese regulators declined to clear the deal, though the country later expressed regret over the transaction’s collapse.

At the time, the abortive takeover was the highest-profile victim of a dispute between the world’s two largest economies about their ballooning trade imbalance, a spat fuelled by concerns about China’s ascendancy.

A Qualcomm representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

By allowing the Qualcomm deal to run itself out, Beijing was seen to be flexing its economic muscles while retaining negotiating power with a Trump administration that has threatened to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports.