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Taiwan prosecutors claim Chinese biz swiped IP and R&D team from Apple supplier

Before you could say 'economic espionage', a factory in China was making bits of iThings

The New Taipei District Prosecutor's Office has alleged that a Chinese company hired local employees of a company that supplies parts to Apple, then bid for work with the iGiant.

A Friday press release alleges a Chinese company named Luxshare Precision Industry Co. hired staff from Taiwan Kecheng Technology Co., Ltd.

Kecheng Technology makes metal casings for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

The Prosecutors Office alleges that Luxshare offered staff from Kecheng's R&D team large salaries to defect. Some of those staff agreed, and allegedly brought Kecheng's IP with them.

With its new Taiwanese workforce in place, and their knowledge secured, Luxshare built a factory that started making iThing parts that the prosecutor's office alleges clearly used Kecheng IP.

An investigation of Luxshare's documentation and manufacturing practices is said to support the allegation that Kecheng IP was employed.

The matter is now destined for Taiwan's courts.

Taiwan fears that China will undermine its tech industries by stealing trade secrets and using them to steal customers.

To prevent such a scenario, the island state has introduced laws that require Chinese firms to disclose any interest in Taiwanese companies, and prevent Taiwanese nationals who work on certain technologies to seek approval before visiting the mainland.

Failure to observe such laws can result in charges of "economic espionage" or "extraterritorial use of national core technology trade secrets."

China is credibly accused of constant and voluminous efforts to steal intellectual property around the world.

The director of UK intelligence agency MI5 Ken McCallum recently described those efforts as "standing on your shoulders to get ahead of you."

"It means that if you are involved in cutting-edge tech, AI, advanced research or product development, the chances are your know-how is of material interest to the Chinese Communist Party," McCallum said.

And if not to the Party, perhaps to a Chinese business like Luxshare that specializes in cabling and connectivity.

The Prosecutor's announcement says plans are afoot to charge 15 people as a result of its investigation. ®

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