Chinese Espionage Targets Small German Companies, Die Welt Says

Small and medium-sized German companies often fall victim to Chinese economic espionage, Die Welt reported, citing the German intelligence service.

While companies such as Siemens AG (SIE), Volkswagen AG (VOW) and BASF SE (BAS) employ security personnel who often used to work for secret services, smaller companies underestimate the threat and are careless about protecting their know-how, the newspaper said.

Economic damage in Germany from such espionage amounts to as much as 30 billion euros ($40 billion) a year, Die Welt said, citing estimates from the DIHK national industry and trade chambers.

Violations of intellectual property rights in the European Union have climbed from 6,000 cases to about 80,000 in 10 years, the newspaper said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

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