Following criticism over the UK government’s alleged acquiescence to the takeover of the country’s largest semiconductor firm by a Chinese owned company, prime minister Boris Johnson has reportedly confirmed that the government would be reviewing the acquisition.
Johnson stated on Wednesday (July 7), that he had looked to his national security adviser to review the acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab by the Dutch firm Nexperia, which is fully owned by China’s Wingtech.
Supposedly, this comes just a day after the Welsh secretary stated that he was satisfied that the security threats had been considered, in response to the criticism from Labour and Conservative MPs.
For the records, Labour had stated on Tuesday (July 6) that the government should utilize its powers under the National Security and Investment Act to scrutinize this takeover immediately.
Sources have reported that the government is also reviewing the purchase of the Cambridge based chip maker- Arm by Nvidia, the US chip manufacturer on the grounds of national security. Announced in April, this investigation also apparently followed the pressure to intervene.
Speaking to the MPs regarding parliament’s liaison committee, Johnson stated that he believes semiconductors are highly important for the country and added that he wished to see if the nation could become more self-reliant the moment he became the Prime Minister.
The government needs to be judged that the stuff they are manufacturing is of actual intellectual property value and is of interest to China, whether there have real security ramifications, he added.
Meanwhile, Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for business, energy and industrial infrastructure, stated that considering the significance of semiconductor for the critical infrastructure of the country, this case needs to be examined for national security reasons.
The semiconductor industry has apparently gained a geopolitical prominence as China is focusing on it as a vital technology for future economy. The industry is known to produce a trillion chips per year. However, that number is expected to accelerate as computers are being incorporated in more and more devices.