China's Huawei uses "dubious" tactics to try and reverse engineer technology from Apple and
In November, for example, a Huawei engineer heading up a smartwatch development tracked down a supplier that helps build the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor, The Information said.
The engineer was accompanied by four researchers and together the group was told have spent an hour and a half asking about the watch. Huawei has reportedly used similar tactics against companies such as Cisco, Motorola, and Akhan Semiconductor. The U.S. Justice Department in fact claims that Huawei has a program that rewards employees for stealing data with better bonuses based on how confidential information is.
An earlier incident in Apple, according to one source, involved Huawei copying a 201
Another alleged tactic is talking to people who used to work with Apple or its supply chain. In one case, a person interviewed with Huawei immediately after leaving Apple, only to be asked repeatedly about upcoming products and features. They refused and stopped taking interviews.
"It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were hiring me," the person explained.
Huawei has become the center of the gulf surrounding the Chinese government's business policies. The company is believed to have government ties, which has led to calls in the U.S. and elsewhere to ban it from supplying 5G infrastructure. Chinese operatives have regularly conducted cyber attacks in the U.S.
Huawei and its CFO, Wanzhou Meng, were recently hit with a barrage of U.S. charges accusing it of bank fraud, wire fraud, violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Theft of business secrets is another item on the docket, though mostly because of a 2013 incident related to a T-Mobile phone-testing robot.
Legal action has only worsened relations between the two countries, which are in the middle of a trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump. Among other demands, Trump has called on China to better protect the intellectual property of foreign firms.