China looking to hire Korean engineers after poaching Taiwan's TSMC talent

Chinese companies seeking talent from Taiwan, South Korea amid US sanctions

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A Samsung Group flag and South Korean national flag flutter at its office in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. 

A Samsung Group flag and South Korean national flag flutter at its office in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Aside from hiring over 100 experienced engineers and managers from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Chinese chip manufacturers are said to be enlisting engineers from Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix.

A Korean headhunting company is looking for South Korean engineers specializing in plasma etching, a key to improve semiconductor production yield, for a Chinese company, according to BusinessKorea.

The move is believed to be driven by expanded U.S. sanctions against Huawei and other Chinese tech companies, which will be blocked from accessing critical components made with U.S. technologies.

Talent acquisition websites were found posting ads seeking to hire 10-nanometer DDR4 DRAM ID designers. The ads say preferential treatment, such as high salary, housing, and international schools for workers' children, will be given to former Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix engineers.

An industry analyst told BusinessKorea that some Chinese chip manufacturers are also trying to poach engineers working at Samsung's fab in Xian, China, and SK Hynix's DRAM plant in Wuxi, China.

Another industry insider said Chinese memory chip makers prefer Korean engineers, while Chinese fabless and foundries prefer Taiwanese engineers.

Earlier this month, Nikkei Asian Review, reported that Chinese Quanxin Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (QXIC) and Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (HSMC) have each hired more than 50 former TSMC employees, but TSMC's chairman later refuted the report.