Apple has ‘deep concerns’ that ex-employees accused of stealing trade secrets will flee to China

Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

Apple Inc on Monday told a federal court it has “deep concerns” that two Chinese-born former employees accused of stealing trade secrets from the company will try to flee before their trials if their locations are not monitored.

At a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should continue to be monitored because they present flight risks.

Federal prosecutors alleged Zhang worked on Apple’s secretive self-driving car program and took files related to the project before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor. Federal agents arrested Zhang last year at the San Jose airport as he was about to board a flight for China.

Prosecutors allege Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing “manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple’s secure databases” with intent to share them. Agents arrested him in January at a train station on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is right to be deeply concerned.


  1. This is happing in many tech companies. Many Chinese students are sent over by the government with the objective to steal tech company’s IP. Some are even threatened with possible harm to family that are back in China. Every one needs to really wake up to the fact that China does not want to be better than us, they want to crush and destroy us.

    1. They’ve been spying since the 1970s when I was in college. Our library was one of a handful around the country that had the full U.S. patent database on microfiche. Chinese students were lodged there seven days a week, studiously copying the files, to the point where it became an on-campus joke.

  2. Of course, because would you expect anything different from the Chinese? They cannot create anything on their own and must steal everything, because they are the worlds laziest people. And they don’t know how to stand in a line properly or drive. Pretty much stupid idiots. The lot of them.

    1. Strange comments.

      Yes, they’ve stolen a lot (wiley) and the IP gained has enabled them to build tech much advanced beyond that stolen (smart) and their plan to win shows detailed forethought and determined execution and is coming to fruition (not lazy).

      Unless an equal and opposite force contends with their plan, they Will Rule the World. When/if that happens, you will see the ridiculousness of your words and you will be one of their subjects.

      Hate him, or love him, Trump is the first/only American leader to, at least, put a foot down to Chinese presumption. Time will tell of true effect of his efforts.

    2. “worlds laziest people. ”

      No excusing IP theft in any way but will Apple build most of it’s stuff with the “worlds laziest people. “? (And no comparing wages, China isn’t that cheap. CNBC: “Chinese factory workers $3.60 an hour vs 50 cents in Sri Lanka”).

      and there was that bit of stuff about thousands of them building railways in the Rockies in the 1800s …

      China buys almost as many iPhones as the WHOLE of Europe i.e England, France , Germany, Italy etc COMBINED (20+% Apple sales).
      if the country was filled by idiots etc, explain how they could do that…

      “They cannot create anything on their own ”
      Gunpowder, paper, paper currency, , their own system of writing, Confucianism, Agriculture and Administrative systems that lasted 4000 years, and yes… Acupuncture, Tai Chi, and Shaolin Kung Fu (!) etc.
      Todays theres a lot of IP theft and IP transfer issues (foreign companies if they want to do joint ventures have to share certain IP), but China is at least there in contention in technology from 200 km hour train networks to 5G server networking products (Both of which USA is lagging behind.. ).

      Americans being racists and stereotyping like they did the Japanese: 1930s “Japanese pilots are shortsighted and their fighter planes are built of rice paper” etc and 1960s “Japanese cars are made of recycled tin cans” serves USA nothing.

      1. Apple giving a job in a secret area to a Chinese, Russian or Indian non American is the problem…That also applies to letting a Saudi Arabian (9 11?) be on/in a onshore US military base with gun.

        1. You have a point there:

          but I was answering to ‘lazy’ and ‘stupid’ etc.

          Practically every research , even making potato chips, has secrets, how to secure them all is problematic.


          PLEASE NOTE : for Apple specifically the BIGGEST I.P theft in Apple’s history was done by TWO USA COMPANIES: Microsoft and Google. Windows and Android.

          (Don’t have to go through the long story here at MDN as it’s familiar to Apple nerds)

          Apple is the richest USA corp. with just 20% phone share and sub 10% PC share world wide. Imagine if Windows and Android did not exist how much more Apple would be worth.

          In dollars sense these USA companies must have stolen tens if not hundreds of billions from Apple over the decades (Apple revenue is over 200 b a year)

          In the early days Microsoft employees when working for Microsoft word for Apple etc had FREE ACCESS to Apple. That’s before Windows.
          Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s Board of Directors.

          Bill and Eric are Americans

  3. without China… not enough manual low pay people to build intricate mobile devices…

    China has been stealing IP for years… from other Asian countries… from each other…

    Apple needs to get their Steve Jobs lock down going… and while they’re at it… buy TMSC and a display manufacturer…

    yes it costs massive amounts of R&D… but then at the same time… they can finally get what Steve wanted: “…own the whole widget”

    ….if they don’t… China will…

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