Chinese Investment Confirmed in South Wales Semiconductor Community


Dutch semiconductor company Nexperia, a subsidiary of Chinese technology firm Wingtech Technology which is reportedly partly owned by state-controlled organisations in China, has now acquired Newport Wafer Fab in a deal worth around £63 million.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, last month wrote to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng raising concerns over the Chinese takeover on national strategic asset and security grounds.

CSconnected, the South Wales compound semiconductor cluster organisation has welcomed the news that Nexperia, will invest further in Newport Wafer Fab’s power electronics fabrication facility.

This investment comes whilst the global semiconductor industry is experiencing severe supply chain shortages.

The takeover by Nexperia will also pave the way for the establishment of a separate spin-out from Newport Wafer Fab of a new locally owned entity which plans to focus on the development and production of Compound Semiconductor chip technologies, which will guarantee that Wales and the UK remain at the forefront of semiconductor know-how and development in the future.

The deal guarantees that the Newport site will continue to have a strong position in the Welsh semiconductor community and will continue to develop and manufacture compound semiconductor chip technologies.

The expanded activities at the Newport facility will continue to contribute strongly to the South Wales Advanced Semiconductor Cluster with a shared vision of accelerating highly skilled employment growth by around 3,000 over the next five years, establishing South Wales as a premier global hub for research, development, innovation and manufacturing excellence in compound semiconductors.

Dr. Drew Nelson, outgoing Chairman of Newport Wafer Fab said:

“We are pleased that we have been able to secure a deal which not only guarantees the future of the existing Silicon Power chip production business but which will also enable us to reinvest in developing high-end Compound Semiconductor based chips at the site through a new separately owned spin out entity.  This will allow us to accelerate the development and production of new faster and more energy efficient compound semiconductor technologies – which represent the next generation of chip technology as a key part of the CSconnected community in South Wales.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:

“The compound semiconductor technology sector will be at the heart of the next industrial revolution and is of vital importance to the Welsh economy. That’s why we made an investment to save this strategically important facility nearly four years ago.

“Today’s announcement will secure 400 jobs, and will see a further significant investment being made in the facility, including in new equipment to grow the business. As part of this, the Welsh Government will recover its initial investment, plus interest.

“Issues of Chinese ownership are a matter for the UK Government.”

Business News Wales