Chinese Purchase Of A Company In UK Won’t Be Allowed

( A Chinese company that was hoping to acquire smart camera technology from a British university was blocked from doing so last week by the UK government under its new national security powers.

Last Wednesday, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced that he invoked the National Security and Investment Act to block the Chinese company, Beijing Infinite Vision Technology (VIVT) from purchasing the SCAMP-5 and SCAMP-7 vision-sensing technology from the University of Manchester.

Developed by the university’s Innovation Factor, the vision-sensing technology enables new embedded vision applications for use in robotics, virtual reality, the automotive industry, toys, and, of course, surveillance.

If the intellectual property transfer had gone through, Beijing Infinite Vision Technology would have been able to develop, test, manufacture, use, and sell licensed products.

However, Secretary Kwarteng blocked the acquisition because the technology is considered to have “dual-use applications,” namely, it can be used for both civilian and military purposes, making the Chinese acquisition a possible threat to UK national security.

The University said it would abide by the decision of the UK government.

The UK’s National Security and Investment Act, which went into effect on January 4, is believed to be the biggest shake-up of the UK’s national security apparatus in the last twenty years.

The law grants the government new powers to scrutinize and intervene in any acquisition that could pose a threat to UK national security.

In addition to this acquisition, Secretary Kwarteng is also overseeing an investigation into the takeover of the microchip plant, Newport Wafer Fab, by a Netherlands-based subsidiary of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Wingtech Technology.

The sale of Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest microchip plant, to a Chinese-linked company not only raised alarm bells in the UK but was also met with pushback from US lawmakers. Nine House members, including the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, sent a letter to the UK government in April demanding “urgent action” to prevent the sale.