Chinese-owned Nexperia finally acquires Dutch chip startup Nowi after greenlight from Netherlands regulators
Dutch regulators have given the green light to the acquisition of chip startup Nowi by the Chinese-owned company Nexperia. The Netherlands government announced on Monday that, following an assessment, it will not obstruct the acquisition of Delft-based startup Nowi by Nexperia, which is owned by China’s Wingtech.
In a letter to the parliament, Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriaansens said: “There are no legal objections to the acquisition of Nowi by Nexperia,” Reuters reported
Nexperia had purchased Nowi, a startup with approximately 40 employees, for an undisclosed amount in 2022. However, in May 2023, the Dutch government decided to retroactively review the deal after establishing a new office to assess foreign takeovers involving potentially sensitive technologies.
Nowi specializes in power management chips that can utilize ambient sources of electricity, such as light or vibrations, as a power source. This innovation has the potential to eliminate the need for batteries in simple electronic devices.
Founded in 2016 by Simon van der Jagt and Omar Link, Nowi’s chip technology enables the continuous supply of power to sensors and other internet-connected devices, addressing the significant battery challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Despite consuming minimal power, the batteries in Nowi’s devices typically need replacement every few years. However, through energy harvesting—extracting energy from the immediate environment—Nowi’s technology is able to eliminate the need for battery replacement. The startup currently holds eight patents and operates on the belief that technology benefits society, with commercialization being the fastest and most effective way to achieve this.
“By continuously harvesting energy from the environment into consumer electronics & IoT devices with clean ambient energy, our energy harvesting PMICs remove the need for battery swaps, contributing to a more sustainable future of electronics,” Nexperia said on its website.
Meanwhile, in recent years, China has been acquiring a handful of foreign chip startups as part of its ambition to boost its semiconductor base. In 2019, China’s Wingtech Technology acquired Dutch firm Nexperia, a tech startup that started as a spinoff from Phillips, for $3.9 billion (about 25.2 billion yuan).
Then through Nexperia, China announced in July it was acquiring the UK’s largest and last remaining advanced chip factory in England. The announcement prompted concerns among lawmakers in England about foreign powers owning key assets in the UK.