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Taiwan raids 10 Chinese firms poaching chip engineers

MJIB targets Chinese firms, R&D centers suspected of poaching Taiwan tech talent

Map of Taiwan superimposed on image of semiconductor. 

Map of Taiwan superimposed on image of semiconductor.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ten Chinese companies suspected of illegally poaching chip engineers were raided this week in an effort to protect Taiwan's vital semiconductor industry.

The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) announced on Thursday (May 26) that it had conducted a wave of raids from May 23-26 on 10 Chinese firms or their R&D centers operating in Taiwan. It said nearly 70 individuals had been summoned for questioning while coordinating the raids with prosecutors in Hsinchu, New Taipei City, Taipei, and Taoyuan.

The bureau said that on March 9, it began an investigation into talent poaching and found that 11 Chinese companies had committed violations. However, it found that in order to avoid Taiwan's laws and regulations, Chinese companies concealed their ownership or financial sources, with individuals registering locations as personal offices and Chinese companies registering in Taiwan as investments through a third country.

To combat this, the Legislative Yuan on May 20 passed an amendment to the National Securities Act prohibiting the theft of Taiwan's core technologies by hostile external forces, as well as the transfer of confidential information about Taiwan's core technologies to other nations. That same day, the legislature passed an amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area that bars unauthorized visits to China by individuals who have been given Taiwan government funds for developing core technologies.

This prompted the MJIB to launch a second investigation that culminated in the raids launched this week. The 10 firms and R&D centers raided are involved in high-tech industries such as IC design, flash memory, electronic accessories R&D, automation software, and power management chips.

Among the individuals summoned were the directors of XEPIC Corp (芯華章科技) and Lianchuang Innovation Co (聯創創新). Both were summoned by the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office and were released on NT$200,000 bail.

Because Zhu Yiming (朱一明), the founder of GigaDevice Semiconductor (Beijing) Inc (北京兆易創新科技) is a representative of the Anhui People's Congress, he is a key part of China's Thousand Talents Plan. Prosecutors on Tuesday (May 24) took in the company's Taiwan director Wang Wen-hao (汪文浩) for questioning and released him on NT$100,000 bail.

Also raided was Allystar Technology Ltd (華大北斗公司), which is based in Shenzhen and was the focus of attention because of its development of military navigation and positioning technology.