Paul van Gerven
1 June 2023

Dutch Economic Affairs minister Micky Adriaansens is following through on a previously announced investigation of Nexperia’s acquisition of Nowi. A new law to prevent foreign takeovers on national security grounds comes into effect today. “With sensitive technologies like photonics, quantum, radar technology, sensor technology and chips, there’s a risk that they may be used for military purposes,” Adriaansens told Bloomberg.

Nexperia’s owner, Chinese semiconductor and consumer electronics company Wingtech, is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Investment funds linked to Chinese regional authorities currently have a stake of slightly less than twenty percent. Based on the link to China, the UK government decided to reverse the acquisition of a wafer fab in Wales, a decision that Nexperia is currently appealing. The Nijmegen-headquartered chipmaker maintains it operates fully independently. It recently expressed its disapproval to Bits&Chips of not being treated as such.

Nowi
Credit: Nowi

Nowi’s acquisition by Nexperia was announced in November last year. The Delft-based startup develops a power management integrated chip (PMIC) that draws energy from ambient sources like light, vibrations, radio waves or temperature gradients to energize low-power applications like smart wearables, remote controls and wireless sensor nodes. Nexperia denies the energy-harvesting technology presents any national security risks, but Adriaansens apparently isn’t so sure.

Traditionally a staunch supporter of free trade, the Dutch government has turned more hawkish on the Middle Kingdom lately. China “poses the greatest threat to the Dutch economic security,” the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said in a recently published annual report. According to the agency, China is targeting Dutch high-tech companies and institutions through “corporate takeovers, academic cooperation, as well as illegitimate (digital) espionage, insiders, covert investments and illegal exports.”

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