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File photo used for representational purpose.
File photo used for representational purpose.

Chinese company buys UK's top microchip maker for cars. And Britons aren't happy

  • Although based out of The Netherlands, Nexperia is owned by China's Wingtech. It plans to buy Newport Wafer Fab, UK's biggest microchip maker, but many suspect it could be a national security issue.

The news that a Chinese company is all set to buy Newport Wafer Fab, UK's top microchip maker, in a deal said to be worth 63 million pounds has sent shockwaves in the country with UK ministers being asked to intervene and pause the acquisition over national security concerns.

Nexperia - owned by China's Wingtech - has reportedly confirmed that it has agreed to buy Newport Wafer Fab located in South Wales and a firm responsible for making several key power components used in vehicles.

In current times of shortage in semiconductor chips threatening global automotive industry, the deal has the potential of having large ramifications, one way or the other.

But beyond the world of automobiles lies the far more important question of national security and it is this that is being cited by many who are opposed to this said acquisition. They argue that while Nexperia may be based out of The Netherlands, it is owned by China's Wingtech and reportedly has state-funded investors. Politicians like Tom Tugendhat have gone to highlight that UK cannot turn a blind eye to this as it is about a country (China) that has used technology for geopolitical leverage.

While microchips are used in mostly everything - from vehicles to TVs, phones and even the smallest of wearable devices, these also lead to suspicions that those with nefarious intentions could be up to no good.

The UK government is learnt to have refused the possibility of any intervention at present although it does have powers for a review on grounds of national security. Reports quote a government spokesperson as saying that the issue will continue to be monitored closely.

(With inputs from Daily Mail)

  • First Published Date : 06 Jul 2021, 03:09 PM IST

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