U.S. intelligences services were behind a sudden decision by the German government to block a Chinese investor from acquiring Aixtron, according to Handelsblatt sources in the German intelligence community.
During a meeting at the U.S. embassy in Berlin, U.S. intelligence presented German government representatives with evidence that Aixtron manufacturing technology also has military applications. Washington is concerned that Beijing might use Aixtron equipment to produce electronic chips for its nuclear program.
Founded in 1983, Aixtron makes equipment used to produce complex semiconductors and nanotubes and nanofibers, tiny chip elements that can be also be used in military applications and sophisticated weapons system. The firm, based in Herzogenrath, a town near Aachen in northwest Germany, sells most of its equipment to Asian buyers.
Representatives from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, the Economics Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry were all present at the meeting at the U.S. embassy, according to German intelligence sources.