Duh! It's not about mobile. Its about the laptop.
Samsung Exinos chips will take over the laptop this year, with Chrome OS.
A basic laptop that works nicely with your android for $200. Lenovo has to have its own ARM design team to compete.
Why do you link to Strategy Analytics data in your article? Do you trust Strategy Analytics? I think they mostly come up with totally bad data. I think Apple has a much smaller market share than 11% of the smartphone market in China.
Someone needs to spend the time and effort noting all the data that all these different analysts regularly spread among Techmeme blogs, and then later show clearly how wrong each analyst has proven to be. I'm sure you can easily find at least a dozen times where Strategy Analytics can be proven to be completely wrong just in the last 4 months.
If they plan to simply buy ARM+imagination +peripherals core, stick together, fab it. Then 100 EE team should be sufficient I guess. Making a differentiation through architectural re-design etc is another story.
I wonder if 100 engineers is enough to do the entire task of development. Will they license an ARM core and just implement it in silicon or will they need to add to the core? It seems like such a large task and a small team.
"Lenovo, the second largest smartphone supplier in China, will get into the chip design business with a special focus on smartphones and tablets" No clue what exactly in smartphones they are planning to do. But if its something like App processors, its a bad move. Too much competition in high end(Qcomm,Nvidia,samsung) and in the low end (Mediatek & others). Hard to make any differentiation.
It would have much easier, if they simply bought out STE before it died.
Another argument against this Lenovo move is they may be too late to the party. But considering good reputation Lenovo has among Chinese engineers, they could snatch up the best and the brightest for this new team to get the job done.
It is always better to define your own destiny. When the supplier of an important component is also your competitor, as soon as your demand is not fulfilled, what would you do?
On the other hands, sooner or later, China's electronics will go to build their own chips, processors, flash memory, power controller, what not. It is a logical move and given they can still compete in cost, why not?
Competition is a good thing. To a big picture, it is a good thing. Question is how the other ex-leading company and current leaders will react to keep or to expand their market position.
I remember Motorola's genius idea of spinning out their semiconductor division, and then realizing after the fact that it's hard to differentiate your product when you're using exactly the same chips as everyone else.
But, OTOH, the scale required to compete in apps processors or integrated transceivers is so huge as to be daunting.