Former Samsung Employee Indicted for Alleged Chip Technology Leak

Seoul - A former employee of Samsung Electronics Co. has been indicted by prosecutors for allegedly leaking critical semiconductor technology to a Chinese company, in a case highlighting the intensifying tech rivalry between nations.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the employee, identified by his surname Kim, was indicted under physical detention on charges of violating the industrial technology protection law. Kim, who previously held a department head position at Samsung, is accused of stealing and transferring Samsung's information on the manufacturing of the 18-nano DRAM semiconductor to ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT), a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer.

The prosecution alleges that Kim provided CXMT with data on seven essential semiconductor manufacturing technologies, receiving tens of millions of dollars in exchange. This transfer reportedly occurred in 2016 when Kim joined the Chinese firm. Additionally, Kim is suspected of facilitating the move of about 20 technicians from Samsung and other companies to CXMT, offering them substantial financial incentives.

The rise of CXMT, which was relatively new in the semiconductor industry in 2016, to a significant DRAM manufacturer is attributed in part to this technology transfer. This development has enabled the Chinese firm to close the technological gap with competitors in South Korea and the United States.

In a related move, prosecutors have also indicted another former employee from a South Korean semiconductor equipment supplier to Samsung. This individual, who is under physical detention, is accused of collaborating with Kim in leaking key technologies from his previous employer to CXMT.

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