By Roger Fingas
Monday, February 18, 2019, 07:27 PST (10:27 am ET)
The Chinese group Huawei is using a "dubious" tactic to try to reverse engineer Apple's technology and other competitors in the electronics market, reported Monday a report.
In November, for example, a Huawei engineer in charge of developing the smartwatch found a supplier who is helping to build the heart rate sensor of the Apple Watch, L & # 39; information I said. The person organized a meeting with the claim that he could offer a manufacturing contract, but instead sought to obtain details about Apple Watch, said an anonymous supplier.
The engineer was accompanied by four researchers. Together, the group would have spent an hour and a half asking questions about the watch. Without giving anything, Huawei was silent.
Huawei has reportedly used similar tactics against companies such as Cisco, Motorola and Akhan Semiconductor. The US Department of Justice actually claims that Huawei has a program that rewards employees for stealing data, with better bonuses based on the confidentiality of information.
According to one source, a previous incident related to Apple would imply Huawei to copy a 2016 connector model used to make the MacBook Pro thinner while connecting the screen to the logic board. A similar component then appeared in Huawei's MateBook Pro 2018, which was obtained by consulting the Apple scheme from various vendors – most of whom recognized the design and refused to build it. Finally, the company found a voluntary partner.
Another alleged tactic is to talk to people who previously worked with Apple or its supply chain. In one case, a person interviewed with Huawei immediately after leaving Apple was asked several times about upcoming products and features. They refused and stopped taking interviews.
"It was clear that they were more interested in trying to get to know Apple than to hire me," explained the person.
Huawei has become the center of a whirlwind surrounding the Chinese government's trade policies. The company is believed to have links with the government, which has led to calls in the United States and elsewhere to prohibit it from providing 5G infrastructure. Chinese agents have regularly conducted cyberattacks in the United States.
Huawei and his financial director, Wanzhou Meng, have recently been hit by US accusations of bank fraud, wire transfer, violation of international law on economic powers of urgency and money laundering conspiracy d & # 39; money. The theft of trade secrets is another item on the agenda, although this is mainly due to an incident that occurred in 2013 related to a T-Mobile phone test robot.
The lawsuits only aggravated relations between the two countries, which are at the heart of a trade war sparked by US President Donald Trump. Among other demands, Trump called on China to better protect the intellectual property of foreign companies.