back to article UKRI denies pulling funding from Newport Wafer Fab over Chinese ownership concerns

UK Research and Investment (UKRI) has rejected reports it had, on instruction of UK government, cut financial support for Newport Wafer Fab over concerns about its acquisition by Nexperia, offering a simple statement: "funding continues." The Telegraph was the first to report claims from an unnamed source that UKRI had pulled …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Such victimhood

    "Given that this is an aggressive attack," Iain Duncan Smith," Wow, such victimhood.

    "China attacked our mail servers.... look here's the photos, id, rank, employment history, employment tree of their division, gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail, of the people that did it and other information that somehow fell into our laps from the cloud..... we should refuse to accept Chinese money, their cooperation and their help withour crappy loss making economy!"

    No doubt lots of Chinese data falls magically into your laps from the cloud.

    You owe Huawei an apology, they didn't have the backdoors you claimed, they opened their code and cooperated. You made false accusations, you lied.

    There is no win here trying to wage economic warfare based on lies, against the worlds biggest manufacturing economy, with nearly half the worlds population, that manufactures almost everything you use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Such victimhood

      This is the problem with putting all your manufacturing eggs in one basket, you're dependant.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Such victimhood

        But the UK and USA said they were clever by outsourcing everything.

    2. Rol

      Re: Such victimhood

      "We just can't compete with the food stall down the road. They make the best food and far cheaper than us. Just look, everyone on the street is eating their food and not ours"

      "Don't worry. I have a plan. I'm going to put up a screen to show crappy old films and stuff in the street, and with the aid of my corrupt mates in the council, cordon the road off, and claim locked in cinema status, where everyone has to eat my overpriced dog shit"

      "Do you think that would work?"

      "Well, Brexit seems to be having a massive effect on raising the price of everything, and denouncing anything Chinese has certainly helped some struggling industries better sell their overpriced gear, so I guess, yes. It will work"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Such victimhood

      Hi Mr Chong, hows it going ?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    uk.gov don't need an excuse ...

    ... to pull funding from the microelectronics/semiconductor sector. It's been their policy for decades. Satellites is where it's at!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: uk.gov don't need an excuse ...

      What are satellites needed for these days? Comms? No, the worlds covered by fiber. Sat TV? Nope broadband again. weather forcasting? Maybe... is that a big market? Military, spying on Asia and wishing you weren't a nation of micromanagers perhaps?

      Solar is where it's at! Payback for my farm is ~5 years, if I add 28kWh of lithium (overkill) and do an off grid its ~8 years. Free money with a rapid payback, just as long as I hire the sparkies and welders myself, rather than pay a 'specialist' solar company that triples the price. China and Korean dominate that.

      Electric vehicles are next.

      Superconductors in pure research, are next.

      Lots of things might be the next big thing.

      Nobody can set up a business in UK the way they do in Asia. Here, you simply decide to do something and do it and the office space is cheap, and the staff are cheap and the regulation is "post-liabiity", not "pre-permission of a numpty on a power-trip".

      If I was Boris, I would make the first £100k of money a person makes in their life as self employed, tax free. You set up a business, try to make it successful, you lower all barriers to zero, free co-working spaces, tax man helps you with the accountancy, you have webhelp, specialist marketing help available dirt cheap, and you have a window of your first £100k of sales and that's it, one shot in life to make your new thing. See what new things your people can make if you give them the chance.

      You don't know what's next till it happens, all you can do is create the space for there to be a next. You won't compete against Asia, but you can compete *with* Asia.

      So Boris, bless him, imagined a money island like Singapore. Yet has taken no steps to achieve that. Singapore is a faded glory, it was a port hub for a while, repacking Chinese cargo ships by destination, but China does that now. It was a money hub, a stock investing hub, now its OECD'd and customers do the numpty dance, money went to HongKong instead, now its a garden with lights show, a theme park island, an overpriced tourist destination.

      He needs a different role model for the UK. I don't think he has it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: uk.gov don't need an excuse ...

        In Boris's view satellites seem to be where it's at. They still need their EU-free GPS system* which is why they bought a communications satellite business.

        * Insert usual guff about being world-leading etc.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Reciprocity

    Is China funding our companies in their country? Do these even exist?

    1. the hatter

      Re: Reciprocity

      You can't trade in china unless you have a chinese company, and you can't have a chinese company unless there's a large chinese stakeholder. There's a very limited pool of chinese investors who will take on those 'partnerships', and you may guess that their influence isn't limited to simple business interests.

      1. Woodnag

        Re: Reciprocity

        Essentially the Chinese government will be an investor.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Reciprocity

          So will the UK gov. Your point?

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Reciprocity

        "You can't trade in china unless you have a chinese company, and you can't have a chinese company unless there's a large chinese stakeholder. " Who told you that? Mail? FoxNews? Trump? BoJo?

  4. katrinab Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Before we start accusing people of trying to acquire a technical advantage from this aquisition, let's look at what Newport Wafer Fab's capabilities are:

    https://www.newportwaferfab.co.uk/about/facility

    "Current capacity is 32,000 wafer starts per month of 0.18µm and above [...]"

    0.18µm is Pentium III era technology (Coppermine, launched October 1999)

    The latest technology from Intel is 10nm (0.01µm), and from Apple / TSMC is 5nm. Other chips are typically around 7nm to 8nm.

    The £3.20 Raspberry Pi Pico uses a chip with a 40nm process node, or you can get the chip on its own for about 60p each in quantities of 500.

    The Chinese company SMIC can produce chips on a 14nm process node.

    So, while the stuff coming out of Newport may be useful to somepeople, it can in no way be described as modern technology.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But these are British chips and so better whatever the numbers say.

      Anyway you can't believe numbers unless they are written on the side of a bus

      1. Dave Pickles

        Mmmm, chunky chips...

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Pint

          Chunky chips...

          ... in the Belgian style. With tons of mayonnaise and a Straffe Hendrick green ———>

          1. Klimt's Beast Would

            Re: Chunky chips...

            I raise you by sauce andalouse and Triple Westmalle.*

            *Once you've gone trappist, you'll always be papissed...(?)

            1. TimMaher Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Westmalle

              ...and I raise you a crate of Westvleteren, collected from the monastery.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Chunky chips...

            "in the Belgian style"

            Certainly not. That's in the EU.

    2. Bartholomew Bronze badge
      Holmes

      > The latest technology from Intel is 10nm (0.01µm), and from Apple / TSMC is 5nm. Other chips are typically around 7nm to 8nm.

      Since the 1990's the "nm" process name is simply a commercial name for a generation of a certain size and its technology, and does not represent any geometry of the transistor.

      Intel 10nm process (which is a commercial/marketing name for 100.76 million transistors per square millimeter) is roughly the same as TSMC 7nm process (which is a commercial/marketing name for 91.2 million transistors per square millimeter) and Samsung 7nm process (which is a commercial/marketing name for 95.08 million transistors per square millimeter).

      ref: https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/7_nm_lithography_process or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_nm_process#7_nm_process_nodes_and_process_offerings

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not just whether it's the latest/greatest leading/bleeding edge node.

      Some analogue IP is not available on newer smaller geometries. Neither is embedded flash. (AaaAaaaaah!)

      One of the nodes ramping up right now for apps in many market segments is 22nm.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Sure, but we are talking about something that Intel discontinued 20 years ago;. Obviously others used it for longer, and some still do. Apparently Newport's output is mostly used to produce power management chips for cars, and I guess there would be zero benefit from moving them to a 5nm process node as the 180nm chips work just fine. But, I'm sure the Chinese are capable of producing power management chips that are just as good as ours. If you want them in a factory in Wales, shipping from China might most more than the actual product.

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Sorry, I keep being told the PRC is stealing out tech. even when I show otherwise, as you have done. It seems a certain tye of person isn't very honest.

  5. gandalfcn Silver badge

    "The Telegraph'.

    “Johnson referred to the Telegraph as “my real boss”.

    "Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged a national security investigation into the takeover of the facility,"

    ""Given that this is an aggressive attack," Iain Duncan Smith". If someone says hello to IDS he would consider it an aggressive attack.

    Nexperia is handing over its research to the UK nit the other way round. And investing in R&D in the UK.HYes, it will find its was back to the PRC. So what.

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