Johnson orders review of Beijing takeover of UK tech firm

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According to the SMH, the deal was not reviewed under the UK’s new national security law, which is meant to stop high-risk foreign takeovers of critical infrastructure firms…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said his government will review the purchase of the UK’s largest producer of semiconductors by a Chinese-owned manufacturer, a day after his government said it would not intervene.

This comes after Chinese-owned firm Nexperia on Monday said it had acquired Britain’s largest producer of silicon chips Newport Wafer Fab. The agreement was said to be worth around USD 116 million but this has not been confirmed, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.

According to the SMH, the deal was not reviewed under the UK’s new national security law, which is meant to stop high-risk foreign takeovers of critical infrastructure firms.

The semiconductor industry has gained geopolitical importance as China has targeted the key technology for the future economy. Beijing has ambitions to corner the global supply chain of semiconductors as silicon-based products are the imperative component of all electronic devices.

The sale was “a very difficult business”, said Johnson and warned against anti-China sentiment by default. “I do not want an anti-China spirit to lead to us trying to pitchfork away every investment from China into this country,” he said. “That would be economically foolhardy.”

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK foreign affairs select committee said that the government has to judge whether the stuff the company (Newport Wafer Fab) is making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China and whether there are real security implications.

“I think semiconductors are of huge importance to this country, one of the things I wanted to look at immediately was whether we could be more self-reliant. We’re thinking about what to do.” (ANI)

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