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Chinese knockoffs.
ESPIONAGE

The US has charged six Chinese citizens with stealing secrets from tech companies

By Alice Truong

A federal grand jury has charged six Chinese citizens, including two professors, with economic espionage and the theft of trade secrets from two US tech companies.

According to an indictment, the individuals stole designs, specifications, code, and other confidential documents from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions.

The group created a joint venture with China’s Tianjin University to produce film bulk acoustic resonators, a radio frequency filter that makes communication on cell phones and other wireless devices more secure. They then sold the technology to the Chinese military and commercial customers, according to the US government.

Hao Zhang, a 36-year-old Tianjin professor who previously worked at Skyworks, was arrested on May 16 at Los Angeles International Airport while traveling to speak at a conference. The remaining five are believed to be in China.

“The defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive US technologies to illegally obtain and share US trade secrets with China for economic advantage,” assistant attorney general John Carlin said in a statement. “Economic espionage imposes great costs on American businesses, weakens the global marketplace, and ultimately harms US interests worldwide.”

Last May, a grand jury indicted five members of the Chinese military for breaching into the systems of and stealing trade secrets from American companies in the nuclear power, metals, and solar industries.