back to article Prime Minister says national security advisor will probe Chinese acquisition of UK's top chip maker

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a national security investigation into a China-backed corporation’s takeover of Britain's largest producer of semiconductors. The sale of Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), which employs 450 people at its south Wales site in Tredegar Park, to Nexperia, a Dutch firm owned by China’s Wingtech, …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Are semiconductors coming home?

    If not, they should.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Are semiconductors coming home?

      Nah, The Great British Firesale. Been selling off the family silver for as long as I can remember

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Are semiconductors coming home?

        A point the BoJo lovers ignored is "Dr Drew Nelson, Newport Wafer Fab's outgoing chairman, said Chinese investment was a "key part" of the industry in south Wales. Production at the Tredegar Park area began in the 1980s."

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Are semiconductors coming home?

      You mean the ones developed in Nijmegen, Hong Kong and Penang? Which this article is basically about, i.e. Nexperia.

      You seem to forget that Maggie started off the sale of our assets and the created the me,me,me philosophy, and the same selfish Tory voters are now bleating. Pure goldy.

  2. Mark Exclamation

    Seriously? There is no way we should be selling anything like this to the Chinese government (yes, it IS the Chinese government as it controls ALL Chinese companies). The West needs to be much more selective of what it allows China to buy. Want to buy a Chinese company? Bad luck, it will never be allowed.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Not too well read, educated or experienced are you. But very, very gullible and prone to believe the Telegraph and Mail without question. Baaaa, baaaaa.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Mark Exclamation

        Not too well read, educated or experienced are you. But very, very gullible and prone to believe the Chinese Communist Party without question. Troll, troll!

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Bless. Not at all. I think for myself which is why I get downvoted by the people I described. What us amazing is the number of people that downvote facts. One has the same problem with Flat Earth cultists and YEC. If there is a troll it is you. It is currently trendy to throw hissy fits about the PRC and I suspect it is because we helped it to develop economically and technically in the belief that Chinese are backward, stupid peasants we could control. just as we did in the 1800s. But the chickens are now coning home to roost and the arrogant xenophobes are running scared.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who's "we" and why not? If you're a shareholder in the company, express your disagreement with the sale. As for it going to a Dutch company, from 2 minutes search online;

      Newport Wafer-Fab Ltd. (NWL) was founded in 2001 as a subsidiary of Hong Kong based QPL International Holdings so it was Chinese from the beginning.

      1. Hugh McIntyre

        The site in Newport started as the Inmos wafer fab in the early 1980s (after Inmos founding in 1978). Definitely not Chinese back then.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inmos_microprocessor_factory

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          No-one is saying it was. I suggest you learn English and also context.

          Ask a grown up to explain to you what "Dr Drew Nelson, Newport Wafer Fab's outgoing chairman, said Chinese investment was a "key part" of the industry in south Wales. Production at the Tredegar Park area began in the 1980s." Then come back and apologise.

          1. Hugh McIntyre

            I was replying to the comment "it was Chinese from the beginning". Not in the 1980s when I was there, at least in reference to the Fab itself.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The Romans were is Wales/Newport before the 1980s. So clearly it is Italian.

    3. teknopaul Silver badge

      control

      When you say the Chinese government controls all Chinese companies, you presumably don't mean they run things day to day. They set the legal framework work under which the companies work and give them guidance and occasionally fines or imprisonment if they break the rules they lay out.

      well, yes, that's their job. It's the "govern" in government.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: control

        Indeed, but a certain typeof El Reg reader doesn't seem to understand simple things like that. they love bashing people about being IT illiterate wetc. but fail to realise they are seriously inexperienced in many, many things themselves. The problem seems to have increased with the move to encouraging Septics.

        Beijing does have quite a lot of shareholdings in many companies, minor and major, but then so did the UK until Maggie sold the family jewels to her mates.

        France and Germany still have very profitable holdings in many, many companies and it is interesting to look at foreign state holdings in UK outfits and infrastructure. Goldy as Baldrick said.

  3. gandalfcn Silver badge

    "“Thanks to ... the National Security and Investment Bill, we are able to take action,” he told MPs." Yet another Spaffer lie. We always could. and he knows it. Standard EU protection.

  4. gandalfcn Silver badge

    So our Glorious Leader and his Trusted Clowns are so awake and knowledgeable that they didn't know about the fab in Manchester. These idiots really are a disgrace, but ut seems the majority of the electorate trust them for reasons that baffle me.

    As for national security, IP etc., the Tory Loons obviously don't realise the company's R&D HQ is in Nijmegen, which was not in the UK last time I visited, neither are the R&D sub-units in Hong Kong and Penang.

    But then the Gammons and "Spoons clientele love him / them.

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    The real question

    What do they make?

    Can they really be all that strategically important, given the sale is for less than £100m?

    There seems to be an awful lot of shouting about this, but not much actual information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real question

      It used to be International Rectifier, making power semiconductors including MOSFETs and the like. The future of the plant has been in doubt for a while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real question

      They make wafers. The clue is in the name. I think they are at 200mm/180nm.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real question

        so does cadbury and rowntree.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: The real question

      You can't run a processor on its own. You will need supporting electronics, which often requires simple semiconductors like diodes, transistors, gates.

      Every semiconductor company is strategically important. Even those running supposedly old processes.

      Even the 200nm process and older are out of reach for most companies and starting such fab from scratch is a gargantuan task.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real question

        They are a wafer production facility. They make wafers, not devices.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: The real question

          They make wafer which are made up of lots and lots of devices.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: The real question

          That's even more important then. Imagine if there is a war and we need to manufacture components for various devices, and that needs wafers and the enemy destroys the fab ability to produce wafers before we manage to nationalise it or take control?

          1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Re: The real question

            No problem. In the event of a war, global pandemic or Brexit, we'll just buy the stuff from abroad ... like we do with kit for the Army that comes from China ... may take a while if we've got to negotiate a trade agreement with an enemy state first.

            "Hello, Is that the Oojameflipistan trade envoy? I need some sniper rifles."

            "But we are about to declare war on you ..."

            "Ah, about that ...We're a bit hort of weapons at present. If we can put off going to war for a couple of weeks, you supply us with the weapons and then you can make some money and we can all have a fair fight ...? I'm tole if the rifles work out, we will have a contract for a few cruise missiles and a container-load of Army underpants to fulfil ..."

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The real question

            Oh dear You don't understand the semiconductor industry/business do you. Don't worry. Neither does the UK government, so you're not alone.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The real question

            >>>Imagine if there is a war and we need to manufacture components for various devices,

            You're going to **** yourself when you find out where Trident missiles and F-35B fighters are made.

          4. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: The real question

            So why is the PRC government (according to some) transferring its tech and production to the UK? I sometimes despair at people total lack of logic / nouse.

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: The real question

      The shouters all ignore the fact that the potential buyer is already a player in the UK and its R&D / tech is not British it is mainly from from Holland, China and Malaysia. But Brexiteers/Xenophobes/Racists never let facts get in the way of crass bigotry.

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