July 21, 2024

Another Dutch tech firm has been caught in the simmering tensions between the West and China. Amid growing calls to curb Chinese access to chipmaking equipment from ASML, a Dutch minister has raised a separate alarm about the sale of Philips spinoff Anteryon.

Although the digital-optics developer remains based in Eindhoven, the business was bought in 2019 by China’s Jingfang Optotelectronics. The Suzhou-based firm reportedly spent between €40mn and €50mn on the acquisition. Following a separate buyout in 2021, the chip company China Wafer became Jinfang’s majority shareholder.

These deals attracted the concerns of Micky Adriaansens, the outgoing Dutch Economy Minister. According to a new report in the media outlet FD (translated via Google Translate), Adriaansens said the transaction “may pose a risk to national security.”

The comment emerged in a recent Dutch court case. A judge in Rotterdam ruled that Anteryon didn’t need to report the ownership change to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Adriaansens had disagreed.

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

Ultimately, Anteryon won the case. The company’s CEO dismissed concerns that Anteryon’s tech had military applications or other sensitive features, FD said.

The court ruling will come as a blow to Adriaansen. But the dispute is further evidence that western governments are increasing scrutiny of business with Beijing. For Dutch tech firms with ties to China, further political interventions may be on the horizon.

As we count down to TNW conference in Amsterdam on June 20 and 21, we’re ramping up our coverage of the Dutch IT sector. If you’re interested in attending the tech festival, we’ve got a special offer for our readers. At the ticket checkout, use the code TNWXMEDIA to get 30% off your business passinvestor pass, or startup packages (Bootstrap and Scaleup).

Source link