A Chinese national named Hao Zhang has been sentenced to imprisonment 18-month-old in the United States, from the District Court of Northern California, for stealing trade secrets from semiconductor companies Avago and Skyworks. Zhang allegedly stole trade secrets such as semiconductor recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design blueprints and other confidential information from these companies. The original indictment had been filed categories against Zhang and five other Chinese nationals. However, of these, only Zhang faces a prison sentence for stealing trade secrets from US semiconductor companies. The other five people were released.
According to the indictment, Zhang and Wei Pang, one of the defendants, had met at the University of Southern California (USC) during their studies. They then worked as semiconductor engineers at Skyworks and Avago respectively, from which they stole important trade secrets. These were then leaked to Tianjin University, where Zhang was a professor, in order to set up a semiconductor factory and a business semiconductor based in China, according to the indictment.
In addition to the jail sentence, Northern California District Court Judge Edward Davila ordered the Chinese national to pay $ 477.000 in damages to the two semiconductor companies that were breached.
Davila's decision is the culmination of a case that unfolded in 2015, when Zhang and the others were indicted. The Chinese national was arrested the same year when he arrived at the Los Angeles airport from China.
The court ruling follows a U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) indictment of another Chinese national for allegedly destroying evidence in connection with a separate research regarding possible illegal transport American technological equipment in China.
Many investigations into this case have been underway since 2018, according to its director FBI, Christopher Wray, when DoJ started campaign for research and tackling economics espionage of Beijing. It is worth noting that the FBI currently has about a thousand investigations into China's attempt to steal US technology equipment.