Taiwan’s anti-spy agency has opened investigations against 100 Chinese firms suspected of stealing semiconductor engineers and other tech talents.
A Taiwan senior official at the island’s Investigation Bureau told Reuters recently that the move took place following seven prosecutions since the start of last year. In that case, 27 firms were raided or whose owners were summoned for questioning.
This is not the first time that Taiwan’s anti-spy agency has taken action to protect its semiconductor engineers. According to South China Morning Post, last October, Taiwan security officials raided the offices of two companies for allegedly poaching local chip talent for a mainland chip maker.
The official, asking not to be mentioned by name, told Reuters that so far, cases where the authority has taken action with raids or questioning, are just “the tip of the iceberg.”
According to Singapore-based Think China, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, “controls key strategic materials for global technology and economic and trade development” and “currently produces 92% of the world’s most advanced chips below 10nm”.
Reuters said that Taiwan possesses what China lacks—chip expertise to a great degree.
To solve this problem, since 2020, Taiwan Justice Ministry’s Investigation Bureau has created a task force for catching spies who poach Taiwan’s semiconductor talents.
Last month, the force carried out its largest operation, as it raided eight firms in a campaign to fight back against “the Chinese Communist Party’s illegal activities of talent-poaching and secret-stealing.”