A high-profile arrest rocks Samsung Electronics Co., as a former senior executive, is charged with stealing confidential data to build a counterfeit chip manufacturing plant in China.
The 65-year-old, charged with violating industrial technology regulations, has been accused of illegally acquiring confidential company data, including chip plant detailed engineering data and design drawings, from August 2018 to 2019. The prosecution has also indicted six others - one employee of a Samsung subcontractor and five staff of a Chinese chipmaker company founded by this executive- for their part in this alleged technology theft.
In semiconductor manufacturing, impurities are a big no-no. That's where BED technology comes in - it ensures every step of the production process is free of unwanted extras. The layout can determine the floor plan and dimensions of a chip plant's eight core production processes. Secrets like these are vital for crafting sub-30-nano DRAM and NAND flash chips and are even considered national core technologies.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be trusted with these secrets. Recently, the former executive was caught trying to steal these secrets to build a copy of Samsung Electronics' chip plant away from the company's chip plant in Xian, western China. His plan fell through after a promised investment of US$6.2 billion from a Taiwanese company fell through.
Last year, the former executive received a staggering investment of 460 billion won from Chinese investors. With this influx of funds, he proceeded to build a state-of-the-art chip manufacturing plant in Chengdu based on Samsung technology.
News has emerged that the chip plant, which employed about 200 people from Samsung and SK hynix Inc., illegally obtained Samsung's semiconductor design data and other trade secrets at the executive's behest. Prosecutors allege that the technology leaks cost Samsung a minimum of 300 billion won in damages.
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