Media: Taiwan Accuses Bitmain of Illegal Hiring of Engineers

The Taiwanese authorities have initiated an investigation against the Chinese mining giant Bitmain. This was announced by journalist Colin Wu, citing local media.

Breaking: Because Bitmain hired hundreds of chip engineers in 2017, 19 people were interviewed by the local government in Taiwan. Some of them may be prosecuted and sentenced to one year in prison.

– Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) March 9, 2021

According to sources, the case concerns unfair competition in the field of high technologies and a possible violation of the Law on Trade Secrets. Bitmain’s goal was ostensibly to try to accelerate advances in artificial intelligence.

Nikkei Asia claims that Taiwanese specialists “have long been targeted by Chinese companies.” At the same time, the legislation prohibits investors from the PRC from investing in strategic industries.

According to preliminary results of the investigation, cited by local media outlets, Bitmain, through third parties, created two companies in Taiwan – Zhijiao and Xindao. With their help, the mining giant has illegally lured over 100 chip research and development specialists since 2017.

Sources said that such actions by Bitmain could not only lead to an outflow of highly qualified personnel, but also “jeopardize the development of the semiconductor industry” in Taiwan.

On Tuesday, March 9, law enforcement agencies searched seven addresses in the cities of New Taipei and Hsinchu, and also summoned 19 people for interrogation, media reported.

According to them, prosecutors seized employment contracts, accounting information and employee lists from two chip development companies, IC Link Limited Company and WiseCore.

“So far, no evidence of a trade secret has been leaked,” ministry officials said in a comment to Nikkei Asia.

Wu, referring to Bloomberg, noted that the chips for Bitmain’s mining equipment “are exclusively produced by Taiwanese TSMC.”

Bloomberg: Bitmain is suspected of illegally hiring hundreds of engineers from Taiwanese companies. New Taipei Prosecutors conducted an investigation into its office. Bitmain did not respond. Bitmain’s mining machine chips are entirely from Taiwan’s TSMC.

– Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) March 9, 2021

According to the journalist, the industry is concerned about the collaboration between Bitmain and TSMC, as well as the possibility of successful deliveries of devices for mining cryptocurrency and future listing on the exchange.

Industry is very worried about the relationship between Bitmain and TSMC, and whether Bitmain’s mining machines can be successfully shipped and whether they can be successfully listed in the future.

– Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) March 9, 2021

Lawyers interviewed by the publication admitted that the authorities could also accuse the Bitmain management of doing business without permission and forgery of documents due to manipulations with the opening of firms.

According to Nikkei Asia, the perpetrators face a year in prison or a fine of 150,000 Taiwanese dollars (~ $ 5,300).

Recall that in March, the Chinese government presented a five-year plan to accelerate the development of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

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