The UK government has banned the outright takeover of a UK semiconductor company by a Chinese-controlled company. Trade Secretary Grant Shapps vetoed Nexperia’s takeover of Britain’s largest chip maker Newport Wafer Fab on Wednesday, government sources said. The reason for the decision is a “comprehensive assessment of national security”.

Shapps ordered Nexperia to sell at least 86 percent of the shares in the Welsh semiconductor company to avert “potential threats to national security,” a government spokesman said.

The company Nexperia is based in the Netherlands but is owned by the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Wingtech. Nexperia bought Newport Wafer Fab in July last year. The purchase of one of Britain’s leading industrial companies by a Chinese company had met with considerable criticism in Great Britain amid growing tensions between London and Beijing.

In Germany, too, the federal economic enterprise wants to ban the takeover of the chip production of the Dortmund company Elmos by the Chinese-controlled competitor Silex because of a possible “endangerment of public order and security”.

The debate about China’s influence in Germany gained momentum when the Chinese state shipping company Cosco entered the Port of Hamburg. Despite broad political concerns, the Federal Cabinet gave the go-ahead in October. Under pressure from several ministries, above all the Federal Ministry of Economics, the state-owned company was only allowed to hold less than 25 percent.