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UK concerns about Chinese takeover of Newport Wafer Fab


Purchase now under scrutiny by the prime minister's national security adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove

News that the Chinese-backed semiconductor company Nexperia (wholly-owned by Chinese tech firm Wingtech) is looking to purchase the UK's Newport Wafer Fab for £65m is now under scrutiny by the prime minister's national security adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove.

As the BBC resported on its website, Boris Johnson told MPs: "We are looking into it. I have asked the national security adviser to review."

He said Welsh ministers had asked UK ministers to deal with the issue but the Welsh government has denied this.

Nexperia is a Chinese owned company with headquarters in the Netherlands, and already has a site in Manchester.

Mr Johnson told Westminster's Liaison Committee on Wednesday: "We have to judge whether the stuff that they are making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China, whether there are real security implications.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "The Welsh government has not made a request to the UK government to review the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab."

Drew Nelson, Newport Wafer Fab's outgoing chairman has said the deal for the Wafer Fab site helped secure its future, and semiconductor production in Wales.

The online site business-live.co.uk reported more details:

The national interest issue applies to the economy of the Cardiff Capital Region, as the chip manufacturer is at the heart of efforts to create a new hi-tech compound semiconducter cluster for the region employing thousands.

The growing network of regional industry partners including tech firms such as IQE, SPTS Technologies, Microchip and yes Newport Wafer Fab. Its early stage research capacity is being backed with partners in Swansea and Cardiff universities. It is also being supported by the Welsh Government the Cardiff Capital Region’s £1.2bn City Deal.

The cluster’s industrial chain goes from wafer manufacturing right through to packaged chips, providing a capability in next generation semiconductors which are going to be at the heart of virtually every industrial vertical imaginable, including aerospace, automotive, electric vehicles communications, fibre optics, data centres 5G, healthcare medtech and robotics.

The crucial question is within this ecosystem, will the fab continue to be an inclusive and collaborative player?

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