UK Govt Allows Sale of Largest Microchip Factory to Communist Chinese-Owned Firm
The British government has reportedly approved the sale of the United Kingdom’s largest microchip factory to a firm owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), despite concerns over national security.
Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) in Wales, which was forced last year to sell its factory to after failing to pay its debts, will apparently be allowed by the government to be sold to the Chinese-owned firm Nexperia.
According to a report from POLITICO, a review from the government’s national security adviser, Stephen Lovegrove, found that the sale of the semiconductor producer to China did not rise to the level of presenting a national security risk. Under the National Security and Investment Act, should the sale have been determined to present such a risk, the government could have prevented the sale.
An unnamed official told the news outlet that Lovegrove came to the decision to allow the sale to go forward due to Newport Wafer Fab using 20-year-old technology which the Chinese already have access to.
When the sale was first announced last year it came under considerable scrutiny, given the vital importance to the economy that semiconductors play, being a critical component of most modern technologies, and in light of the supply chain concerns following the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
A whistleblower had also previously told CNBC that Newport Wafer Fab had received approximately £55 million ($75 million) in taxpayer funds and defence contracts for the development of next-generation tech, including £5.4 million to work on radar systems for fighter jets.
“I don’t think anybody realised that there were a couple of defence-related projects in there,” the whistleblower said at the time.
Nexperia, which is based in the Netherlands and has offices in Britain, is owned by JAC Capital, a subsidiary of JIC Capital, a Chinese state-owned investment firm. Nexperia claims to be run independently.
Header featured image (edited) credit: Microchip factory/BRIETBART article/Getty Images
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