July 04, 2022

China: Buyout of UK's largest microchip plant raises concerns

Featuring Martijn Rasser

Source: BBC News

Entering Newport's fabrication plant is an other-worldly experience. Gloves, a white suit and hood need to be put on in the right order before stepping into a chamber where jets of air blast away remaining contaminants.

The process, a guide explains, is not to protect people, but the product. On the other side of the secure door, lies the UK's largest semi-conductor manufacturing facility, an environment one hundred times cleaner than a hospital operating theatre.

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"It's not in the strategic interest of the United Kingdom, the United States or any other allies that China gains prominence in the global semiconductor industry," says Martijn Rasser, a former CIA analyst and now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank.

Semi-conductors are one crucial area in technology where China has struggled. Washington has taken advantage of this by restricting supplies to the Chinese telecoms company Huawei, causing it considerable pain. China is desperate to catch up and reduce its dependency.

That means the UK selling its largest facility to a company with Chinese ownership has met with resistance. Washington, especially Congress, will "lean heavily" to prevent the acquisition from being concluded says Mr Rasser.

Read the full story and more from BBC News.

Authors

  • Martijn Rasser

    Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Martijn Rasser is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Rasser served as a senior intelligence officer a...