back to article UK forces Chinese-owned company to offload Newport Wafer Fab

The UK's secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has ordered that the Chinese owner of the Newport Wafer Fab sell off its interest in the facility on grounds of national security. Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday published an order [PDF] in which he explained ownership of the facility represents a …

  1. Gordon 10

    Interesting thread on this here. Allegedly what appear to be a very ordinary fab was actually doing some cool stuff.

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Seems simple - Government buys the factory for £63m, it runs independently, provides jobs, makes money, pays tax and is a net income stream for the Government.

    What's the catch? Does Newport do it's own R&D or is it reliant on external sources for that so if sold out of its umbrella company it will quickly die? Is it crying out for investment or at the top of its game? Is it a small fish in a big pond and is too expensive to run? Whilst the Sky(?) twitter report linked above was nice and flowery it wasn't really pitched at an audience who were expected to understand the world of fabs, chip R&D and long term macro economics. Standing under an HF pipe to take a picture shows some courage (or lack of knowledge) however well labelled and pretty it looked!

    Perhaps we need more background digging into to this story to be able to make a serious judgement about it. My feeling is they produce specialised silicon for the UK military and the Government are scared about that.

    1. Gordon 10

      Look Up.

      Its all on that twitter thread.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Re: Look Up.

        Its all on that twitter thread.

        Better read it quickly then. No telling when it will vanish.

    2. Electronics'R'Us

      Compound Semiconductors

      They do GaN (Gallium Nitride) transistors, which are a Big Thing in power electronics as they can yield very high efficiency power supplies among other things.

      They also do compound silicon products and photonics and a part of an industry / academic consortium.

      Blurb here

    3. Lordrobot


      Seems simple - Government buys Railroad, runs independently as AMTRAK, provides gov make work jobs, loses money, pays no tax and is a giant black hole existing off the back of the Taxpayer.

      Please name me one Gov business that makes money... silence..........

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amtrak

        Australia Post...

        There are many others. When you are being so smug you might want to do some research first.

        Being government owned doesn't necessarily mean that you are unable to make proffits...

      2. Mobster

        Re: Amtrak

        Why would _any_ government agency be making money? The job of a government is to provide services which private capital markets are not suitable for, precisely because private capital markets are in the business of making money. You have plans to require emergency services turn a profit?

  3. Al fazed

    So what's new

    Personally I no longer go "WTF ?" when I read about UK Govermins meddling in technology business.

    Oh wouldn't they all (politicians) love UK to be the world's IT star............

    Dream on...............

    One minute we are at war with China 'cos America says so. The we are flogging IT tech to China, then changing our mind.

    The bset bit about this whole story is that the company concerned has attempted to engage the Govermins in dialogue, as were the Chinese, but our head pol IT ician preferred to go look at a already burned out firework....................

    Ahem..........Soz folks, once thought these muppets actually knew what theywere doing..........But I was only 6 at the time..


  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    While I expect we'll never get the whole story, I am (sort of) impressed by our mob.

    They seem to have honed their ability to screw up everything they touch to near perfection!

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Gubbermints

      They're just doing what they're told.

      So much for Globalization -- apparently its only a thing if we're winning (i.e. making all the money).

  5. Roland6 Silver badge

    Nexperia BV to sell at least 86% of NNL

    Given Nexperia own 100% of NNL, if the risks of know-how and technology being transferred to China are real then surely the need is for Nexperia to sell 100% of their shareholding...

    1. AVee

      Re: Nexperia BV to sell at least 86% of NNL

      It's not about the knowledge (at least, that's not the most important part), that will leak out sooner or later anyway. It's about control and economic power.

    2. Lordrobot

      Re: Nexperia BV to sell at least 86% of NNL

      The wafers at stake are about as high-tech as Crumpets. this company is at the bottom of the food chain. This is just UK meddling to suck up to John Wayne. British Unemployment for British Workers... That's the collapsing UK Gov model.

  6. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    " 'does not accept the national security concerns raised.'"

    Well, now they wouldn't would they?

    If you want to do business in a country, you have to play by the rules of that country. Who do these people think they are, Uber?

  7. TheInstigator Bronze badge

    I think there will come a time ...

    ... that the only thing Western countries will allow the Chinese to run/own are non tech companies such as take-aways and laundries and cleaning companies.

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