The big picture: Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said during a news conference that according to his understanding, the case was an anti-monopoly issue, not one related to China / US trade friction.

Qualcomm has terminated its agreement to purchase NXP Semiconductors after it was unable to gain approval for the deal from the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) of the People's Republic of China by the deal's "end date."

Qualcomm needed approval from China because nearly two-thirds of its revenue last year was generated in the country.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's CEO, said they obviously got caught up in something that was above them.

NXP president and CEO Richard Clemmer said that while it is unfortunate that the semiconductor powerhouse that would have resulted from the transaction with Qualcomm could not close after 21 months of diligent efforts, they are confident in their future as an independent market leader and will focus on their long-term strategy.

Qualcomm paid NXP a break-up fee of $2 billion for failing to close the deal and said it intends to pursue a stock repurchase program of up to $30 billion to reassure investors.

NXP's share value is down around 7.75 percent as of writing while Qualcomm shares are up about 4.5 percent on a strong earnings report.