Beijing is exploiting the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 epidemic in an attempt to move a security-sensitive British tech company to China, said a leading Conservative MP last night.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the powerful foreign affairs committee, said China was “using the cover” of Boris Johnson’s illness to “launch a raid” on Imagination Technologies, which designs graphics chips for Apple.
She intervened when the company’s CEO, Ron Black, resigned following attempts by Beijing-related China Reform Holdings to take control of the company.
The dispute follows a similar outcry from the party over Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network, which sparked strong protests from the House. Blanche and Donald Trump’s Conservative MPs against the potential threat to British security.
Tugendhat has teamed up with the chairmen of other House of Commons committees – and with senior figures in the United States government – to try to avoid the takeover.
Tom Tugendhat MP (photo) said China is “using the cover” of Boris Johnson’s disease to “launch a raid” on Imagination Technologies, which designs graphics chips for Apple
He told the Mail on Sunday, “Beijing is using the cover of our Prime Minister recovering at the hospital – and the distraction of our government working hard to protect us from the coronavirus – to launch a raid on British technology.
“The companies controlled by the Communist Party are trying to take over more of these electronic codes that connect us all – so that they can be determined by the Chinese tyrants. “
The MP for Tonbridge and Malling added that the move had heightened fears in Washington that had been raised by the Huawei deal.
He said, “The White House and the United States National Security Council are so concerned about the security threat that they told me about the threat to our communications systems. We are not dealing with a free market but with a one-party economy which takes British ideas and uses them against us.
“We don’t just sell our crops, we actually let countries that don’t share our values take the fields in which they grow. This will destroy our British innovation and weaken our future. “
Imagination Technologies HQ on the outskirts of London. He is a pawn in a hostile diplomatic line involving Britain, the United States and China on coronavirus and 5G technology
Imagination, founded in 1985, uses microchips in billions of products, from Apple smartphones to wireless speakers.
China Reform Holdings is a key investor in Canyon Bridge, the private equity firm that bought Imagination for £ 550 million in 2017.
The extent of the US concern over the matter was revealed yesterday when the US Foreign Investment Commission, a powerful Washington-based security agency, said it had launched an investigation into China Reform Holdings.
The committee wrote “an extremely detailed letter” to Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, regarding the attempted takeover.
Imagination boss Black Black threatened to quit last week when the Chinese Reform Party tried to add four directors to the board to effectively take over.
He came as Imagination Technologies chief executive Ron Black (pictured) left following attempts by Beijing-linked China Reform Holdings to take control of the company
The coup attempt was canceled after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told committee chairmen he had received reports that the company wanted to relocate the company and its intellectual property. China “very seriously” and was looking for an urgent meeting with the bosses of Imagination.
But now, Mr. Black is gone anyway, rekindling fears of senior conservatives over the long-term plans of the Beijing-related company to create a monopoly on microchips that could leave western countries dependent on its technology.
Ray Bingham, founder of Canyon Bridge, stepped in to direct Imagination while the company is looking for a new general manager.
He said that the imagination remains attached to Britain.
“Since the acquisition of Imagination Technologies in 2017, we have made great strides in transforming the business, and we remain fully committed to the UK and supporting our customers worldwide,” he said. he declares.
“Our strategy will benefit the company’s headquarters and global business development and our priority remains our customers and our people.”
“This pandemic has taught us that we must never again be as dependent on a regime as restrictive as China,” writes SIR IAIN DUNCAN SMITH for The Mail On Sunday
By Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP
This Covid-19 plague, with its roots in China’s repellant live animal food markets and possibly a biological laboratory, has been a disaster for the world.
The suppression of information by China at the start of the epidemic and the subsequent misinformation of the full scale of Covid-19 finally highlights the extent of the United Kingdom’s dependence on China.
The UK’s drift towards over-reliance on China for so many products and systems that manage our lives has proven to be a disaster.
China’s total dominance in the computer and mobile phone market where, from microprocessors to laptops and mobile phones to antennas, China now dominates the world market. Worse, the government will add to this dominance by including Huawei in our new 5G system.
This domination is due to the fact that the totalitarian Chinese government has implemented strategic plans to secure these markets for China, one by one. Of course, this has been made easier by our complacency, our rush for cheaper and cheaper products and the lack of a strategic vision from the government on crucial production areas.
SIR IAIN DUNCAN SMITH: This Covid-19 scourge, which has its roots in the repellents of China’s live animal food markets, has been a disaster for the whole world (photo, October 2018)
Chinese companies do not act independently but according to a central plan, most often fully supported by the Central Bank of China; a plan in which western countries have run, with the results too obvious now.
As bad as it is, we are about to make matters worse after the end of this pandemic.
The government has a plan for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050. However, I fear that in the rush to reach the carbon neutral target, the UK is about to make a major mistake , as was the case in the panic diesel rush.
Indeed, China has already won the battery race. China has become the world’s largest producer of batteries and their special charging systems. Pressure to switch to UK electricity in a hurry means that central and local government are all standing in line to strike deals with these large Chinese battery companies – giving China billions of pounds and increasing our addiction.
Once installed, these batteries pose a safety risk. Industry experts say batteries can contain a “back door”, which means the producer can immobilize thousands of people at the touch of a button. As the government prepares to open our 5G network to Huawei, I doubt this threat has been addressed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attending extraordinary G20 virtual leaders’ summit on COVID-19 via video link in Beijing on March 26, 2020, amid discussions on a cover-up
In addition, batteries need rare earth metals to function. These are essential for a range of applications, including smartphones, computers, LEDs, catalytic converters, power generation and storage, and batteries for electric vehicles. They are also essential in several defense applications, including radar, missile guidance systems and laser rangefinders.
Interestingly, China now controls about 95% of the world’s current supply of rare earth metals and also controls the majority of the world’s processing capacity – what a surprise. Worse still, an Amnesty International study has shown that up to 35,000 children may be involved in extracting rare earths for batteries in unstable countries like the Congo.
Then there is the question of what we do with these billions of batteries from China at the end of their life. Currently, recycling rates in Europe and the United States are below 5%. This is because scientists and engineers have yet to determine if and how to do more. We have over 37 million cars on the road in the UK, if all of this is to become electric, this will lead to a large amount of hazardous materials which must be plowed into landfills.
Even knowing all of this, the British government is still enthusiastic about batteries. I understand the Department of Transport is running an “all-electric bus city” plan that will see £ 50 million spent by taxpayers to convert an entire city’s bus fleet – all of these buses will use batteries made in China .
However, it’s not like there is no alternative. By leaving the EU, we are fortunate to find ourselves in the position of world leader in the production of hydrogen and the hydrogen fuel cell to power vehicles and generate electricity.
Hydrogen is an incredibly clean source of energy and does not require backfilling when exhausted. The UK is already the most advanced in its research and testing of the potential of hydrogen. We are home to world-class companies, such as Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, which already manufactures the world’s first double-decker hydrogen buses and the revolutionary hydrogen technology from Worcester Bosch.
This is why, instead of going to China again, we need a strategic plan to ensure that we support an area where we have a position of world leader and offer the solution with neutral ambition in UK carbon.
By supporting the hydrogen sector in the UK, we could create hundreds of thousands of highly skilled jobs in locations far from London and the South East, places like the Tees Valley where half of the hydrogen from the UK is already produced.
Now is the time to strategically position the UK as a true world leader in new forms of low-carbon technology.
By increasing innovation in the UK, energy security and creating British jobs that benefit parts of the country far from London, we will reinvigorate the UK.
Certainly, after what the British have suffered from this pandemic, we owe it to them to end our dependence on China. We must learn the lesson that this pandemic has taught us and act so that we never again become as dependent on an anti-democratic regime as violent as China.