Britain blocks Chinese company’s deal to acquire camera technology as it could pose risk to national security
- University of Manchester had reached deal to license camera technology to Beijing Infinite Vision Technology
- First time Britain’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has used new national security powers to block licensing deal
Britain’s business secretary has blocked the University of Manchester from sharing motion camera technology with a Chinese firm, using new national security powers to stop a licensing deal for the first time.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, stopped the university from sharing Scamp-5 and Scamp-7 camera technology with Beijing Infinite Vision Technology, a maker of 3D rendering technology used in architectural design, multimedia displays and animation.
In addition to 3D renderings, the technology can be used in nanny cameras, drones and other surveillance equipment. The technology allows cameras to process large numbers of images more efficiently.
Beijing Infinite Vision Technology did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
It was the first time the business secretary used new powers to block a deal under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, which came into force in January and gives the British government powers similar to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cfius) to stop transactions that might harm national security.
The acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab by a company ultimately controlled by a Chinese firm has raised concerns among members of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, who have said the company is of economic and strategic importance.
Nexperia has hit back at claims that it would potentially shut down the Newport plant in South Wales and move production to China, saying there is no “factual basis” for such claims.
In response to a parliamentary inquiry on the British semiconductor industry, Nexperia said it was not controlled by the Chinese government and highlighted its European credentials as a Dutch company.