US charges six Chinese nationals with economic espionage

May 20, 2015 08:50
The US Justice Department has charged six Chinese citizens with theft of trade secrets, in an indictment unsealed late Monday. Credit; Wikipedia org

US authorities have charged six Chinese nationals, including three professors, with stealing sensitive wireless technology from two American firms.

According to the Justice Department, the six individuals stole trade secrets from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions Inc. and took the technology to China’s Tianjin University.

They then set up a joint venture with the university to produce and sell equipment using the technology, an indictment unsealed late Monday showed, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The technology is said to have business as well as military applications.

One of the defendants, a Tianjin University professor named Hao Zhang, is said to have been arrested when he landed at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday after he traveled from China.

The other five defendants are believed to be in China.

“Sensitive technology developed by US companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology," a prosecutor was quoted as saying in a statement.

The charges against the six Chinese nationals relate to film bulk acoustic resonator technology, which is used in wireless devices to filter out unwanted signals.

All three of the professors -- Wei Pang, Hao Zhang and Huisui Zhang- charged in the case received electrical-engineering degrees from the University of Southern California in 2006.

Pang and Zhang were said to have taken up jobs at Avago and Skyworks after graduation.

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