“I prefer living in the UK more than anywhere else. I like the history, I like the culture, I like the under-dog attitude,” he explains. “The UK is a good place to get things done.”
Mr Yassaie’s eyes light up as he waxes lyrical about Britain’s successes in technology and his commitment to building up Imagination’s research and development facilities in the UK – notably at its new headquarters in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire.
But there is one big problem standing in his way: those pesky overseas students who do just as Mr Yassaie planned to, by coming to Britain, getting their degrees and then taking their highly educated brains back home.
“It is very important that we are able to hire the workforce we need from within the UK and that really is a challenge. Partly because the universities don’t necessarily teach the right things, and partly because you don’t get enough home students,” he says.
“At British universities, 85pc or 90pc of the [postgraduate] students are from overseas. Only 10pc are British. That is a problem and it has to be fixed.
“We need those engineers in the UK to help create the future. If we don’t [start educating more UK citizens] we will be forced to set up offices elsewhere.”
Imagination, which is best known for Pure digital radios and its graphics technology, used in Apple’s iPhone, is on a mission to recruit 200 UK staff this year. Of those, about 100 will be new graduate positions.
However, the dearth of good candidates means the company has had to expand its research and development centres in India and Poland to help it keep up with demand, and is hitting the acquisitions trail as a way of simply buying up engineers.
Imagination has also launched a university and school outreach programme, headed by Mr Yassaie’s computer science graduate daughter, aimed at inspiring students early on.
“Britain is impacting the technology industry, big time, but it’s all under the hood,” he says, referring to companies like his own, or Cambridge’s ARM Holdings, which design the chips that power the mobiles, tablets and games consoles produced by the likes of Apple or Samsung.
“We are not consumer brands so a lot of people don’t understand that the gear they buy has a lot of British technology inside. Part of the challenge is about making it cool, making sure people understand what we do. What we need is a rock star for the industry,” he says.