UK government to protect tech firms from foreign takeovers

The proposed bill is thought to be aimed at Chinese venture capitalists

The government is reportedly preparing a new bill to protect UK tech startups from foreign investors, a move thought to be aimed VCs from China.

The bill is thought to have divided the government, according to The Telegraph, with some concerned it could hamper startups sourcing the funding they need to survive. 

The bill has been in the works for some time and Boris Johnson recently made a small announcement about it during last week's Prime prime minister's questions. He said that in the coming weeks he would bring forward measures to ensure the UK "protects our technological base". 

Advertisement - Article continues below

He added that MPs were "right to be concerned about investment" and also fearful "about the buying up of UK technology now by countries that may have ulterior motives", reportedly referencing China. 

The bill is believed to be part of an effort to limited the UK's reliance on Chinese businesses. Last week, Johnson announced that he would reverse his decision to allow Huawei limited access to the country's 5G networks. The original decision went against advice from the US government and also saw a sizable rift within the conservative party. Johnson is now thought to be looking at removing the company from UK networks by 2023.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The former CEO of ARM, Sir Robin Saxby told The Telegraph that the proposed legislation could damage the competitiveness of the UK's tech sector: "It's really hard for politicians to understand how business really works. I'd say to them: don't get confused with stock markets and takeovers."

Advertisement - Article continues below

Johnson's chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, doesn't share the same views and is thought to have been against the sale of UK-based AI firm DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014. He reportedly said it amounted to selling off "valuable asset" for "trivial money, without the powers-that-be in Whitehall understanding its significance." 

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now



The IT Pro Podcast: COVID-proofing your startup

10 Jul 2020
Policy & legislation

US Rep. Bill Johnson introduces the Advancing Tech Startups Act

22 May 2020

Most Popular

Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020

Is it time to put Intel Outside?

10 Jul 2020