UK blocks vision sensing technology licensing to Chinese firm

July 21, 2022 0 Comments

British business minister Kwasi Kwarteng on Wednesday said he had issued an order preventing  the University of Manchester from licensing vision sensing technology to Beijing Infinite Vision Technology.

According to The Telegraph, it marked the UK government’ first intervention under the National Security and Investment Act, which was introduced earlier this year amid concerns that strategically important technology is being acquired by rivals.

The order prohibits the University of Manchester’s Innovation Factory from licensing the “Scamp-5” and “Scamp-7” technologies it developed to the Chinese company for the development, testing, manufacture, use and sale of licensed products. These technologies can be embedded in a variety of devices, allowing their cameras to process large numbers of images more efficiently.

Established in 2010, Beijing Infinite Vision Technology claims to master cutting edge 3D rendering techniques to deliver realistic still images, animations and virtual reality for residential cultural and commercial projects. The company mainly undertakes architectural renderings, multimedia displays, animation displays, etc. 

“There is potential that the technology could be used to build defense or technological capabilities which may present national security risk to the United Kingdom,” said the order, published by the government.

In recent years, nations like the US and the UK are getting increasingly concerned about China’s rapid rise as it might pose more economic and technical challenges. The British minister is currently presiding over an investigation into the Chinese takeover of Britain’s biggest microchip plant, Newport Wafer Fab in South Wales. 

Shanghai-listed Wingtech, through its subsidiary Nexperia, proposed a £63 million takeover of Newport Wafer Fab last year. Opponents of the deal have claimed “there is a strong possibility that when Wingtech’s Shanghai plant reaches full capacity the company might close Newport and shift production to China, thus supporting China’s drive to reduce semiconductor imports”.

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