Intellectual property protection in China is a sore spot for foreign companies. The authorities promise to toughen penalties for the theft of technology, but this phenomenon cannot be eradicated completely. However, sooner or later, justice overtakes the guilty. This was the case with Hong Kong businessman Vinsman Nga, who persuaded a General Electric engineer to steal power transistor technology. But it didn’t work out to make money.
The attackers reportedly were going to register a silicon carbide power MOSFET company in mainland China. Such power semiconductors are becoming in demand in light of the electrification of vehicles and the transition to renewable energy sources. For these purposes, electronics need components with high efficiency, which is fully consistent with MOSFETs based on semiconductors with a wide band gap and, in particular, based on silicon carbide.
According to the statement of the US Department of Justice, which indicted the Hong Kong citizen, the attackers created a PowerPoint presentation and tried to attract multimillion-dollar investments for this case to start the production of transistors. What and when went wrong is not explained, nor is the name of an accomplice in the person of a General Electric engineer disclosed.
The Justice Department sentenced the businessman to ten years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.However, it is unclear whether the United States will be able to detain him, as Washington suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in August 2020 after Beijing enacted a similar National security with a requirement for Hong Kong to extradite criminals or those under investigation. At the same time, the Justice Department said it had no proof that any technology was actually transferred to China.
We add that in 2018 the FBI launched the China Initiative program aimed at countering the theft of trade secrets by companies, universities and government agencies in China. Since then, according to the agency, each new case in this area is opened on average every 10 hours. At the same time, human rights activists note that most cases are soon quietly closed and most of them are related to discrimination on the basis of ethnicity of immigrants from Asian countries.
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