Chinese companies indicted for stealing Micron trade secrets

The U.S. Justice Department indicted two companies based in China and Taiwan and three individuals on charges of stealing trade secrets from Micron, the Idaho-based semiconductor company, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a press conference on Thursday.

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Federal officials said Chinese-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. and Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp. conspired with the individuals to gain access to dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM – a memory storage technology that China did not possess until recently. Micron is the only U.S. company to develop DRAM.

“Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing — and it has been increasing rapidly,” Sessions said. “Enough is enough. We’re not going to take it anymore.”

Sessions said the charged parties engaged in a “brazen scheme” to steal DRAM technology on behalf of the Chinese government. The Trump administration imposed restrictions on technology exports to Fujian as part of the crackdown.

The DOJ also announced an initiative to prevent further theft of trade secrets by aggressively pursuing individuals suspected of crimes and identifying industry insiders suspected of being “co-opted” by Chinese agents to aid technology theft.

China’s rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property is at the core of an ongoing trade dispute between the two nations. The Trump administration has imposed $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, triggering retaliatory measures from Beijing.

Trump tweeted Thursday that he had a “very good conversation” with Chinese President Xi Jinping “with a heavy emphasis on trade.”