THE sale of a Newport microchip manufacturer to a Chinese firm is to be investigated by a top national security advisor.

Earlier this week it was announced Newport Wafer Fab, in the Tredegar Park area of the city, had been sold to Nexperia.

And now the sale is being examined by the UK Government's national security adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove.

Boris Johnson said the Government was looking at Newport Wafer Fab’s purchase by Nexperia as he faced questions over China’s activities.

Nexperia is based in the Netherlands but Chinese firm Wingtech Technology has a controlling stake in it. It also has a facility in Manchester.


The prime minister said he had asked Sir Stephen to examine the issues around the takeover of the high-tech Welsh firm.

“We are looking into it. I have asked the National Security Adviser to review,” said.

Facing questions about the issue at the Liaison Committee, Mr Johnson said: “There is this company in Newport, we have to judge whether the stuff that they are making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China, whether there are real security implications, I have asked the National Security Adviser to look at it.”

But Mr Johnson stressed that he did not want an “anti-China spirit” to “lead to us trying to pitchfork away every investment from China into this country“.

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat told Mr Johnson: “We are seeing a Chinese state-backed entity buying a semiconductor manufacturer at a time of global shortage when Beijing is already looking to stockpile semiconductors.

“If China think this is a matter of their national security and essential to their sovereignty, if Italy, if Brussels, if the United States, if other countries and other entities agree, why don’t you?”

The prime minister told him: “I think semiconductors are of huge importance to this country.”

Mr Johnson said the Welsh Government had asked the UK Government to “deal with it”, a claim which Mark Drakeford’s administration denied.

“The Welsh Government has not made a request to the UK Government to review the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab,” a spokesman said.

Issues around Chinese ownership of firms are understood to be a matter for the UK Government rather than the devolved administration.

Newport Wafer Fab reportedly employs 450 people.