Ownership worries stoke cold war with China

July 16, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Ownership worries stoke cold war with China
The ownership and backing of a company is increasingly important, says John Finney of UK space startup Isotropic Systems

The recent buyout of Newport Wafer Fab by a Chinese owned company highlights the risks of the global electronics business, says a UK space startup.

“The bottom line is there is a cold war, what does that mean, it means pick a side. We have a healthy sense of paranoia,” said John Finney, CEO and founder of Isotropic Systems in Reading that is currently raising investment for its innovative satellite antenna.

“We have to look at our investor base and that includes Boeing, satellite operator SES with a massive government services business. All of our investors are incredibly precious about where the money comes from,” he said.

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He points to other UK and European satellite companies that now have Far Eastern investors, with phased array ASIC developer Phasor Solutions acquired by South Korean defence firm Hanwa Systems and another satellite antenna, Kymeta, seeing a $30 investment from Hanwa.

The buyout of power and GaN specialist Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia, owned by Wingtech of China is a similar worry.

“If Newport [Wafer Fab] were in our supply chain (they are not) it could potentially finish us off for the markets we want to serve. You have to think really deeply about the supply chain. The after effects of Covid are going to be profound and we will see huge amounts of consolidation quickly in the industry.

“If you look at how S3 went into Adesto and then into Dialog and now into Renesas, it’s such rapid consolidation and you can get caught in the middle of that,” he said.

You can read the rest of the interview with Finney on Isotropic’s technology and plans at: CEO Interview: Isotropic Systems readies for launch

www.isotropicsystems.com

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