The acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), the UK’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, by Netherlands-based Nexperia, a subsidiary of China’s Wingtech, has raised national security concerns in the UK. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament on the 7th that his national security advisors would look into the acquisition, which clearly represents a reversal of the British government’s policy on the case.
AFP reported on July 7 that the acquisition is of particular interest at a time when relations between Britain and China are strained, Chinese companies’ overseas investments are under increased scrutiny, and there is a global shortage of chips. Johnson was asked about the matter when questioned in Parliament on the 7th, saying he would probe the acquisition, “I’ve asked the national security adviser to understand the matter” to find out if it has intellectual property value and benefits China, “and if there are real security implications.”
Johnson’s statement apparently represents a reversal of the administration’s attitude toward the acquisition. Only the day before Johnson’s spokesman told reporters that the government had decided “it would be inappropriate to intervene at this time.
CNBC 7 reported that according to an analysis of Chinese investment data by Dutch consulting firm Datenna, Wintel was significantly influenced by the government through layers of shareholding, with nearly 30 percent of the shares traceable to the Chinese government, including Wuxi Guolian Industrial Investment Group and Kunming Industrial Development Investment Co.