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Taiwan Probe Spurs Fears of China Poaching Top Chip Talent

  • Bitmain suspected of improperly hiring local engineers
  • Taiwan and the U.S. both concerned about Chinese recruitment
Ex-Bitmain Chip Designer Takes on Crypto's Mining Goliath
Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg
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An investigation into illegal talent poaching by Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies Ltd. has revived fears Chinese companies will target Taiwan’s top engineers as their country works to build a world-class chipmaking industry.

Investigators descended on the offices of Bitmain’s two Taiwan units and interviewed 19 people Tuesday in a probe into whether the crypto-mining startup had violated local laws, according to Chang Jui-chuan, a spokeswoman for the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office. The Chinese firm, which develops semiconductors for mining and other purposes, is suspected of illegally recruiting hundreds of engineers from Taiwanese firms over a period of three years. Taiwan prohibits firms from China from doing business or recruiting locally without prior approval, a measure intended to limit the influence of its political rival.