The UK has launched a Phase 2 investigation into China’s planned acquisition of Welsh graphene company, Perpetius. The proposed acquisitions come from Chinese company Shanghai Kington Technologies, Taurus International and a Chinese academic. Graphene has been referred to as a “wonder material” with many applications.
These include components for solar panels, batteries and computer chips.
While Mr Quarteng has said the UK is “open for business”, the business secretary is concerned about Britain’s “national security” in relation to the takeover.
He added: “The UK remains firmly open to business, although we are clear that foreign investment should not threaten our national security.
“I have considered the evidence presented before me and have asked the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct a thorough investigation so that we can fully consider the implications of this transaction.”
Mr. Quarteng has now written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging it to conduct an in-depth investigation of Phase 2 of the acquisition.
The Phase 1 report was published today, but Mr Quarteng stressed that further investigation is needed.
The Global Times, a pro-state publication in China, slammed Britain for its “weak justification for national security”.
It warned: “An expected outcome may be that Chinese investors will take second thoughts when considering commercial cooperation with the UK.”,
The CMA is now leading the Phase 2 investigation into the national security threat.
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Graphene has high electrical and thermal conductivity and is remarkably strong, in fact 200 times stronger than steel.
China reportedly has 10 different research areas to work on the material, with more than 200 companies working directly on the technology To Ron Mertens, editor of Graphene-Info.
Beijing said back in 2015 that it wanted Britain and China to engage in a “giant’s cooperation” when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the facilities in Manchester.
Graphene was first discovered in Manchester in 2004 by academics from the University of Manchester.
In 2010, he was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work.
But when it was discovered in Britain, Chinese graphene firms were among the first to claim application success.
In 2020, China accounted for approximately 33.4 percent of the global £315million graphene market.