Chinese companies have often openly poached people with experience in Taiwan and South Korea to build national semiconductor industries, but scandals involving criminal charges in such cases have been rare. The new precedent with the arrest of the former Samsung boss in South Korea can overshadow all previous precedents in terms of the extent of the damage.
As explained BloombergSouth Korean law enforcement agencies have arrested a senior specialist with 18 years’ experience at “the world’s largest memory maker” (Samsung Electronics) and 10 years at another semiconductor company. The detainee is suspected of stealing the intellectual property of said Korean company to organize similar productions in China and Singapore with the support of not only Chinese but also Taiwanese investors. According to the investigation, in the period from 2018 to 2019 in particular, the defendant tried to organize the production of chips in northern China in Xian, illegally using information that constituted a trade secret of a Korean company. In addition, the former Samsung manager is said to have stolen blueprints and blueprints and want to use them to rebuild a complete semiconductor manufacturing plant in China, a Korean prosecutor said.
Samsung estimates the damages at $233 million, and the accused is also suspected of having hired more than 200 Korean specialists to work in the state of the company he founded, which deals with illegal duplication of foreign secrets. Six employees of the company he founded were accused of complicity in relation to the main person involved. The prosecutor’s main allegation concerns the prisoner’s attempts to copy the production principles of the South Korean company concerned. Representatives of Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the situation.