The China-US trade war is pushing Beijing to step up its efforts to steal technology and poach talent from Taiwan to boost the mainland’s semiconductor industry’s self-sufficiency, the government of the tech-powerhouse island said on Wednesday.
Washington has taken aim at China’s tech industry during the bitter trade dispute, putting sanctions on firms including telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, saying they are a threat to national security.
Taiwan is home to a thriving and world-leading chip industry, and the government has long worried about Beijing’s efforts to copy that success, through fair means or foul.
Speaking at a parliamentary committee meeting on how to respond to the “red supply chain”, Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said the trade war had created new risks.
“Affected by the US-China technology war, the development of China’s semiconductor industry has been obstructed, but they are still committed to the industry’s development,” she said.
“In order to achieve self-sufficiency in the supply chain, poaching and infiltration are the quickest way for China to do this,” Wang added.
Taiwan’s chip workers have deep experience and speak the same language, meaning they are a “natural target for poaching China has latched onto”, she added.
Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hu Mu-yuan, deputy head of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, said Beijing’s efforts were a threat to not just Taiwan, but also Japan and South Korea, threatening global trade and fair competition.
“Moreover, the Chinese communists are stealing other countries’ intellectual property to boost their own power,” he added.
Taiwan has strict laws to try and prevent this from happening, but officials have warned that Beijing tries to skirt them by setting up front companies on the island, using Taiwanese headhunters and other methods.
“Preventing Taiwan’s key technology and high-tech personnel from being infiltrated by the ‘red supply chain’ has become an important task to protect our industry’s competitiveness and ensure our economic security,” Hu said. (Reuters)