René Raaijmakers
5 May

Ampleon recently fired 24 engineers at its location in Nijmegen. Asked for a statement, the company said: “After years of steady growth in 5G and adjacent markets, Ampleon has had to take dedicated measures in 2020 to safeguard its business continuity after one of its major customers was impacted by geopolitical measures.” According to our sources, this customer is Huawei.

The Chinese smartphone and network gear powerhouse got blacklisted by the United States. Per last spring, even non-US companies need Washington’s permission to supply Huawei – unless they don’t employ any technology of American origin in the manufacturing process. Recently, Bits&Chips reported how ASML got impacted by these measures.

Ampleon power transistor
Credit: Ampleon

Ampleon is the spinout of NXP’s RF Power division (link in Dutch). It got acquired by Chinese state-controlled investment company Jianguang Asset Management in 2015. At the time of the spinout, Ampleon said it planned to invest in R&D and its engineering capacity. The company grew from 1,250 employees in 2015 worldwide to the current 1,650, spread across sixteen locations.

According to Ampleon, the 24 positions in Nijmegen – across all departments – were made redundant last December. This was done “in close consultation with the works council and by applying the existing social plan.” Pointing at the good social plan, one of the technicians who left Ampleon told Bits&Chips that he had no reason to complain.

The layoffs raised eyebrows at the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen because engineers in the semicon industry are hard to get by. Those who are looking for a challenging job most probably don’t need to look very far. Recently, Sumitomo Electric established a branch at the NTC (SEEL Netherlands Lab) and so did Mini-Circuits, a specialist in RF/microwave components and systems. Insiders point out that a third RF systems specialist is also planning a location in Nijmegen.

A spokesperson from Ampleon added: “Going forward, Ampleon continues to be a leading global partner in RF power and remains fully committed to developing and offering a wide product and technology portfolio to its entire customer base.”