A South Korean court found seven former employees of a Samsung Electronics Co. subsidiary guilty of illegally obtaining and transferring semiconductor-related technology to Chinese companies, a case that underscores countries’ growing efforts to protect their chip technology. effort.
Details of the allegations were released on Monday, as the United States is sweeping restrictions on exports of advanced chips and chip-making equipment to China to prevent American technology from being used to boost Beijing’s military capabilities.
Countries have long viewed semiconductors and companies integral to the global chip supply chain as a matter of national security, and those efforts have taken on greater importance as the U.S. pushes allies to join its efforts. Allegations of theft involving major players in the chip industry have also emerged in the Netherlands and Taiwan.
China is years behind Taiwan, South Korea and the United States in producing advanced-process semiconductors, while U.S. export restrictions have deprived China’s chip industry of the necessary foreign technology and talent needed to catch up. China has spent billions building its own semiconductor companies.