The Newport Wafer Fab factory, based in South Wales, may very well be forced to relocate if the handover to Chinese buyers is just not overturned, a report has revealed. Nexperia, a subsidiary of Chinese technology company Wingtech, technically purchased the factory last yr. But in January, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng acquired the ability to intervene within the sale, and he’s reportedly still mulling over the choice.
Under the National Security and Investment Act, he may have the ability to dam the sale on security grounds.
Researchers on the Policy Exchange think tank have warned Mr Kwarteng that if he fails to accomplish that, Nexperia will likely seek to maneuver the factory out of Britain.
The factory manufactures semiconductors, an important component of a wide selection of electronic goods from smartphones to TVs and cars.
And amid a world semiconductor shortage, the think tank warned this is likely to be a part of China’s technique to slash the necessity for semiconductor imports.
Policy Exchange researchers said: “There may be a powerful possibility that when Wingtech’s Shanghai plant reaches full capability the corporate might close Newport and shift production to China, thus supporting China’s drive to cut back semiconductor imports.”
Mr Kwarteng, who launched a security review in March, had already come under intense pressure from MPs to dam the sale.
Lord Alton, a crossbench peer, said back in April: “I actually have tabled a matter in Parliament today asking why UK ministers have quietly approved this Chinese microchip factory takeover.
“As we’ve seen with telecoms and nuclear power it’s madness to sell vital UK interests to firms in hostile states.”
Iain Duncan Smith, the previous leader of the Conservative Party, told Politico: “If the Government goes down this road, it is going to develop into yet one more step within the pathetic technique of appeasing China, who at once is supporting Russia and plans to pose a direct and deliberate threat to the West’s access to microchips and other key components for electronic equipment.”
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“Along with acquiring the Newport Wafer Fab site, repaying a £17million loan to the Welsh Government, Nexperia has committed an extra £160million of latest investment to its UK business previously yr, to assist reply to strong global demand for semiconductors.
“This investment has secured the 450 high-value manufacturing jobs at Newport, with an extra 50 people hired already, in addition to the 1,000 at our Manchester site.
“Those are usually not the actions of a business that’s about to shut up shop.”
And while Mr Kwarteng launched a security review in May, Cabinet is reportedly split on the difficulty.