Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submitlogin
The U.S. is charging Huawei with racketeering (techcrunch.com)
311 points by crivabene 5 months ago | hide | past | web | 301 comments | favorite

Using a throwaway to share our $0.02 relating to this. AMA I guess.

We're a US-based startup that does about $100-200k in business annually with Futurewei (Huawei's R&D subsidiary). I've never dealt with Huawei proper. I can say they're genuinely investing in R&D, and trying to build a product unlike anything being offered right now. We're working with tech that's floating around the academic conferences, but no one else commercially will touch.

This in contrast to our experiences with established US companies which, a) don't want to deal with early-stage research, b) wouldn't work with us as a new, small company, and c) gave bad IP terms (ironically).

Not excusing other activities, but for us it's been above-board and beneficial. If they want to pump their profits into the US ecosystem, I see that as beneficial.

But, don't you see the connection between their risk high investments and the IP they've stolen from US companies? If anything, Huawei made its name of stealing from Nortel, Cisco, etc. Not to mention, questionable ties to the CCP. If they have R&D money to burn, it's because they've saved billions on R&D because they stole it.

To see them as "good actor" because of a token $200k, while stealing literally tens of billions is missing the forest for the trees. Strategically, feels penny wise, pound foolish.

I think the stealing instead of R&D thing is somewhat misled. These guys are definitely spending billions on research as well.

I get the concern, and fines and punishment is all fine. But I think they might also have got caught in the geopolitical crossfire. It's a messy world; Samsung and Apple are stealing eachother's billions everyday, Google and Facebook are spying on us, DOD is killing people. I don't know who it's morally permissible to do business with anymore, but we're trying to get by.

They stole IP from western companies so they could reach the bleeding edge and then spent billions on R&D research to get ahead. Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen. No western company should trust their 5G equipment.

I don’t see how your conclusion follows from the premise. I don’t think anyone really doubts that they’ve stolen IP, but it doesn’t follow from that that their 5G equipment is therefore untrustworthy. That conclusion requires its own evidence, and also presentation of the wider context about why we should trust equipment from other manufacturers instead.

It does follow. Question why they would steal it and realize the Chinese government can force them to do whatever they want. Given they’ve been stealing IP it’s clear this is already happening. Then start questioning why? It’s a very interesting position to be in to have built a majority of the worlds wireless networks, especially with that type of gov.

> They stole IP from western companies so they could reach the bleeding edge and then spent billions on R&D research to get ahead. Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen.

Is an excellent argument for more technological sharing (as is/was customary in china), and less IP ownership.

US citizens don't trust their own companies equipments. Now you are trying to convince rest of the world that Huawei's equipment shouldn't be trusted.

I mean, both US companies and Huawei can be malicious actors, no?

> Without the decades of IP theft, the R&D achievements never happen.

Because they're incapable?

> But I think they might also have got caught in the geopolitical crossfire

I think it's extremely naive to think that Huawei is just an innocent victim. Almost willfully so.

> I think the stealing instead of R&D thing is somewhat misled. These guys are definitely spending billions on research as well.

If you really think Huawei's R&D theft is blown out of proportion, there's a huge mountain of evidence that suggests the exact opposite. There's really not much wiggle room for ifs and buts. If anything, it's probably worse than reported.



and you know, this indictment.

That being said, I don't expect you to say anything bad about the hand that feeds you. Given Huawei's reputation, they're probably monitoring you as we speak.

> I think it's extremely naive

> Almost willfully so.

> I don't expect you to say anything bad about the hand that feeds you. Given Huawei's reputation, they're probably monitoring you as we speak.

I think your post would have been just fine making your point without these remarks. It's just someone sharing their experience, that's what I'm reading the comment threads for. We can all see it's a new throwaway account without you lashing out at them.

I think my points are highly relevant. Questioning their intent and motive is an important part of what I was getting at. Highly suspect in every sense of the word.

Could you also react on his arguments that:

- lots of companies, like apple, are stealing from non US companies.

- US companies like Google and Facebook have much more personal data than huawai.

The whole privacy concern regarding Huawai is not well argumented. And its mostly an excuse by trump to attack China that is becoming a big world economy with manufacturing and technology skills rivalling USA.

Huawai is good competition in their field making products across the board cheaper. Competition is in the core of capitalism. May the strongest survive.

5G will be more expensive to rollout without them.

Ok, if they "copy" certain tech youre free to go to court. But a complete ban... thats just bad politics.

He reacted by citing evidence for his claims. Now it's time for the Huawei defenders to cite evidence for this supposed equivalency, and prove it's not just propaganda.

You should realize that saving billions of dollars on R&D is not really a good thing. It may get you up to a point, but you stagnate afterwards, because you didn't cover your fundamentals and build the skills necessary to advance forward.

At a national level, the R&D spending is actually important to build up your society's fundamental expertise in an area. You learn from your failures and mistakes. And in the meanwhile, you build up the expertise in your population, and those people, may later leave, and form other companies, which further advances your society.

However, if you can get the research results of your competitors, and learn that certain paths don't work, then you can save time and money, and not go down that same path. But, I still feel that you learn most from your failures, because you build in safeguards to prevent them from happening again in the future. So you end up with a technique, a system of systems, to build out your final product.

It's like Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

How did the two of you get connected with each other?

Originally had a friend that knew one of the people there. I was going solo-preneur at the time, so it essentially started as a consulting gig.

I don't have a question but your throwaway username is fantastic.

Wish I could add more value to this comment.. but I also upvoted for the name.

Good username!

What company and why should anyone believe this?

It's $200k/year, which is basically nothing to a megacorp like Huawei. Not sure why you're so incredulous

About a dozen years ago I was working for a small-ish hardware company ($350-400M revenue), which was acquired by a bigger company. BiggerCo had a Joint Venture with Huawei (let’s called it JVco).

About 6 months Post acquisition one of our employees found that Huawei was selling a 100% complete rip-off of one of our products. JVco had access to some of our development resources, but Huawei was never supposed to see any of that per the agreements.

The box looked, acted, and functioned the same - all they did was localize the language, barely rebrand it, and repackage our weekly updates for their customers the day after we released them.

Legal from BiggerCo got involved, and it was all papered over as a ‘misunderstanding’ by the Joint Venture company. Haven’t trusted a thing with their name on it or any company that does business with them since...

Kind of makes you wonder why Boeing would build a finishing plant in Zhoushan and Apple would put so much of its iPhone production in Zhengzhou and Shenzhen.

China is Boeing's second largest market, and it will probably become Boeing's largest market in the next decade.[1]

In these discussions decrying how terribly the Chinese treat foreign companies, I see very little acknowledgment of how much money foreign companies have earned both by selling to the Chinese market, and by exploiting cheap labor in China.

1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-17/boeing-se...

Because its cheap, if you only look at the immediate profit without considering the long term implications

The long term implications have been that American companies are richer than ever before.

What about longer than that. In GPs case what if Huawei outcompetes with stolen IP?

> The long term implications have been that American companies are richer than ever before.

That's medium term. Long term is Comac and Huawei drive down Boeing and Apple's market share until they're bit players in their industries (or go out of business altogether).

Aren't Tesla also building in China?

They are, but the factory is fully owned and operated by Tesla, not the usual 51% Chinese 49% American joint venture that was the norm until the recent trade fight.

They have a Gigafactory in China. Cars made in China stay there.

Not so sure about IP used in this (or other) factory though..

Apple have been there for quite some time, they’re probably happy enough with the trade off.

Apple is so far gone in the closed ecosystem game, they're pretty much impossible to copy.

Whoa there - you're making an implication I didn't make. At no point in my story did I claim that all Chinese people or companies were slimy, just one.

That culture may or may not be more pravalent in China than it is in the US, but this particular story doesn't claim either way.

Because it is often the only way to gain entrance into the Chinese market.

My previous employer and my current one (both Fortune-50 tech companies) each had quiet policies that prospective job candidates who had Huawei on their resume needed extra clearing before they could even interview. Reading through the indictment makes the policies seem less paranoid or perhaps even not paranoid enough.


While I hear your reasoning, and parts of it make total sense, it is explicitly illegal to discriminate against someone due to their citizenship (yes, citizenship as well, not just national origin or anything like that) during the recruitment process (exceptions apply, i.e., if they are in the US illegally or if the position requires some sort of security clearance).

Imo the only way it would work is if there was a separate law passed that addresses hiring workers who have Chinese citizenship specifically (with no US citizenship at the same time, obviously, as dual nationals are a thing), but that would never happen unless the situation escalated dramatically way beyond what it is now.

> The DoJ alleges that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used confidential agreements with American companies over the past two decades to access the trade secrets of those companies, only to then misappropriate that intellectual property and use it to fund Huawei’s business.

These American companies thought they could build their products for a fraction of the price in China and increase margins. They didn't stop to consider that by teaching China how to build their products they were creating a new low-cost competitor. And they've since lost their manufacturing ability. Oops.

It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates and has operated for a very long time.

> It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates and has operated for a very long time.

I see this as a win-win. These U.S. companies tried to take shortcuts by outsourcing to China and they got burned. China engaged in all sorts of unethical and illegal behavior in the process and will (hopefully) get burned.

I see this as a win-win, too, but in a different way.

Early on, the US companies cut their costs: good for them, and likely their customers. In the long term, China developed the expertise needed to contribute to the development of advanced technologies: good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

There's a lot of acrimony over how to divide the surplus, but this shouldn't overshadow the technological and economic development happening before our very eyes.

I love the fact that the PEOPLE of China have been able to benefit economically from this. However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

This is a recipe for tyranny, and the elites of the CCP have oppressed the good citizens of China by developing tech for suppression of speech, identification and targeting of dissent, etc. Even worse, they have begun exporting this technology to other autocracies.

I say this as somebody who has no illusions about the corrupt nature of the US government. However, the US government doesn't have nearly the power over its citizens that the CCP has. Just wanted to clarify that I'm not pretending I live in a perfect democracy. Just empathizing with the Chinese people, and wishing they had more say over their situation than they do now.

The other 91% mostly don't have enough interest to become CCP member. It's not that difficult if they want to join.

Moreover, the highest organ of the state is National People's Congress (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_People%27s_Congress), with elected representatives coming from all kinds of professions, including CCP and non-CCP members. The idea is exactly to give everyone representation in government.

Nah it's very difficult for normal people to join CCP. Firstly you had to be "A Pioneer" worker/soldier etc..This usually means that you need someone' apply from CCP. As a student, you have had to be a member of the Communist Youth League of China and do a lot of pieces of shit to get your teacher‘s apply. Then you will be an "Activist" allow you to send the join offer. This is difficult enough but usually only one or two of the dozens can join the CCP.


> However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

I wonder, of the 91% who aren’t party members, what percentage are non-members because they don’t want to join the party, versus what percentage wouldn’t be allowed to join even if they wanted to?

>>I wonder, of the 91% who aren’t party members, what percentage are non-members because they don’t want to join the party, versus what percentage wouldn’t be allowed to join even if they wanted to?

In another country, there's was no "I don’t want to join the party" when invited, just relatives with bad reputations as far as the party was concerned so no invitation. In that case, even if you were applied, you'd be refused. Think for a second, you not wanting to join the party? Granted, China in 2020 is different from Eastern Europe in the 1960-1980's but the idea is probably the same.

However, probably 95% join to enjoy the perks.

Do you believe that the Chinese people would not have benefitted, had the alleged activities not occurred? If so, then they are a sort of state-level robin-hood. If not, then the theft was greed and treachery.

I have no reason to believe that this was necessary for progress.

Had the alleged activities not occurred? Without a doubt the Chines people wound not have benefited as much.

> I have no reason to believe that this was necessary for progress.

What are the reason that you believe that this is not necessary for progress?

There doesn't exist a single example of technologically advanced country that did not jump start its technological development by using protectionist policies and/or knowledge transfer. Be that knowledge transfer legal or illegal.

>However, less than 9% of China's population are members of the CCP. The other 91% of China's people are locked out of any form of government representation.

I wonder how this form of representation is distributed. In a democracy, theoretically everyone is represented equally. In the CCP, how much say do the lowest members have? Are they yes men all the way up?

>> China developed the expertise needed to contribute to the development of advanced technologies: good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

Depends how China uses the technology. More censorship wouldn't be that good for humanity.

> good for them, and for humanity's aggregate progress.

I don't think social credit and proof that democracy isn't necessary for profit is good for humanity's progress.

Well, yes, that's what the whole cyberpunk genre has been warning us about for last 30 years. That future has come, though fortunately it's not evenly distributed, at least yet.

Not sure about the "fortunately" bit. It's nice that the dystopia hasn't captured everything yet, but uneven distribution of technological power is kinda what reinforces the dystopia.

Maybe with a social credit system the US wouldn't have elected Trump. /s

Its wonderful that we can now reap the harvest of pervasive surveillance for pennies.

The irony of this comment is that this intellectual property theft is what America did in the 1700-1800s to get ahead.

And America eventually eclipsed the British that they were stealing from, so don't expect China to be "punished" too much.

And how everyone developed their own nukes... the moral of the story is that if someone copied your product and can beat you, then your product is not defensible in the first place.

The allegation is not copying, the allegation is fraudulent agreements with US companies, and dishonest corporate espionage.

Can anyone really develop new technology, bring it to market, have it immediately brought by a competitor with zero R&D investment, and expect to compete? Is there something that is supposed to be magical about US technology that this scenario does not apply?

The articles cites some of the examples as "taking a photo of a disassembled circuit board" and "copying source code."

While I agree copying source code is bad, but doing so and maintaining someone else's code is a monumental task.

Everyone except the United States, who figured out how to build them first.

Then use the car industry as an example: the American car manufacturers' internal combustion engines looks identical to those of the the Germans.

To quote you: "who figured out how to build them first."

Isn't this exactly why the US should be worried?

And the Japanese after in the 19th C

Maybe there's a difference from wholesale copying of blueprints, design docs, and millions of lines of software, and someone remembering how things work and going somewhere else.

No, read about it if you want.

Yours really is another ironic comment.

The British at least tried to stop it by making it illegal to take the machines out of the country

The Americans sent the machines to China themselves to save a few bucks on labor.

I have "read about it", and nothing I read has seemed to justify China's wholesale tech stealing extravaganza.

Modern export restrictions are akin to making it illegal to take machines out of a country.

Even if it was somehow exactly the same thing happening, saying "you did this 200 years ago so I'm going to do the same thing now" isn't any kind of acceptable reasoning. Mauritania can't say that they are cool to have slaves because America had slaves 170 years ago. Or rather, they can say that, it just isn't very convincing.

The amount of invention and technological achievement developed in and by the US I would guess be an order of magnitude higher (at least, maybe 3) then any amount intellectual property theft from other nations in the 17-1800s.

I would not guess this to be true of China nor likely to become true for a very long time at least.

It's actually vastly accelerated this time around, China are already overtaking America as experts in certain fields.

Because the Americans so helpfully moved all their manufacturing to China, they had to teach manufacturing and engineering to their Chinese workers to troubleshoot problems, and are now losing that ability themselves.

Turns out when you're designing a product it useful to have practical manufacturing experience, which the Americans have lost.

Isn't this a lose-lose situation instead?

I think they mean win-win because they are giving the impression that these companies are not doing the right thing so for them to fail by trying this sets the precedent for others. Then since China loses the US may benefit from this

" These U.S. companies tried to take shortcuts by outsourcing to China "

It what universe is it a 'shortcut' to manufacture in another country where there are tons of people looking for jobs, wherein, by the way, said jobs will fundamentally improve the lives of millions, and in most cases, manufacturing such products in the US would not be viable anyhow.

There is no 'win win' - China is blatantly cheating, and that's basically the story.

> It's hard to feel too sorry for these companies. It's not exactly a secret that this is how China operates

You mean every developing nation? Just look at U.S. industrial espionage in Europe during the 18th-19th century when it was developing.

Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous.

I attended a top 5 business school in France at the turn of the century. We had partnerships with similar schools in NYC, Tokyo, Sydney, you name it.

It was taught in first year of international business classes that outsourcing abroad was functionally equivalent to a transfer of technology — so you always had to factor in the time it took for your magic low-cost solution to fade out and become your competitor, essentially, but not just them: by then the whole market has access to that cost structure, so you have to keep finding new lower-cost solutions, and keep innovating on your technological part (HQ in Europe, USA, Japan, etc).

It's just international business 101, really, and has been for at least 20 years in my personal experience — but I'm pretty sure I read articles from the 1970s describing this process, because Japan was the first one to pull it off brilliantly.

People focus on China because somebody is waiving that name a lot and his voice carries a lot through the media; but this is definitely just how the world works, and has been forever — if you ask workers from the next village to come and help build stuff with your super tech, it won't take long before they replicate the process over there.

And that's called culture, knowledge, it lives and grows and moves like populations of viruses or molecules, it's been modeled for some time in anthropology at that macro-level.

This is a misleading narrative in the context of the charges against Huawei.

To somehow equate the direct theft of IP and innovation as just 'shared culture and knowledge' completely avoids the material criminality at hand.

Huawei is charged with literally incentivizing their employees to steal knowledge and IP, and of directly copying designs, on a systematic and widespread scale. These activities are instituted far beyond just Huawei.

This is not a situation of the natural flow of industrial knowledge, it's direct theft.

The concept of IP is a relatively recent invention, created by legislatures to prop up specific industries hurt by copying of data, and, as is being demonstrated, not everyone agrees that it should be treated the same as existing systems of physical property.

You wouldn’t download a car. But I would. I don’t think it’s possible to steal information.

This history of IP is not relevant. China knows the rules and they broke them. Therefore, there must be consequences.

No no no, those are American HEROES sir.



But very good point.

I feel like military tech is another issue entirely tho. And concerns me with what I'm perceiving as an arms race with carriers and fighter jets over I presume China's ability to project power within their naval territory .

Note how all comments citing US industrial espionage fail to mention that the young U.S. was at war with Great Britain from 1776-83 and again in 1812 when the Brits burned much of Washington, D.C. is the contemporary parallel that China is now asserting they are at war with the U.S. and therefore can appropriate technology at will?

Same thing can be said about the US trying to overthrow the CCP during Mao when they banned food export during their great famine to try and trigger a revolution to remove them from power.

Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

Supported a western friendly government during WW2 to take over China.

In International relations there are no rules.

I think you have it very wrong:

"After the first two months of war, South Korean Army (ROKA) and the US forces rapidly dispatched to Korea were on the point of defeat. As a result, the ROKA and US troops retreated to a small area behind a defensive line known as the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, an amphibious UN counter-offensive was launched at Incheon, and cut off many KPA troops in South Korea. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back north. UN forces invaded North Korea in October 1950 and moved rapidly towards the Yalu River—the border with China—but on 19 October 1950, Chinese forces of the People's Volunteer Army (PVA) crossed the Yalu and entered the war.[51] The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces back below the 38th Parallel by late December."

I can't find anything related to US/UN forces invading. But this is most likely a western view of the war. China looks like anything but just standing idly by during the war (did not realize that China was deeply involved in the Korean War before).

You might do well to visit the Flying Tigers Museum in Guilin to get a sense of what the U.S. did in China to save the Chinese from Japanese invasion.


And if you insist on applying 18th and 19th century situations to current IP theft, then logically you should also be willing to accept what the British did to America: burn the capital. Is Huawei's IP harvest worth the torching of Zhongnanhsi and the Renmin Datang?

Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

I am pretty sure US did not invade Chinese territory during the Korean War. There are a few instances of US fighters straying into China but pretty sure it wouldn't count as 'invasion'.

> Same thing can be said about the US trying to overthrow the CCP during Mao when they banned food export

Did you mean when the US saved China from being obliterated by nuclear weapons by the USSR in 1969? Or when the US saved China from continued genocide by the Empire of Japan by almost single-handedly defeating the Japanese military in the Pacific? Maybe you mean when the US funded the build-out of modern China through trade & commerce and not only allowed them into the WTO, but openly invited them in (we got rewarded nicely for that).

> Invaded Chinese sovereign territory during the Korean war and got beat back into the current border of South Korea.

When the US tried to save the people of North Korea - the Korean War was a UN military mission - from half a century of extreme poverty, genocide and misery that continues to this day (and with zero human rights). With China on the opposite side of that equation, supporting the outcome of genocide, dictatorship, zero human rights, extreme poverty. Meanwhile South Korea became an affluent, liberal democracy.

> Supported a western friendly government during WW2 to take over China.

When the US tried to spare China half a century of extreme poverty, genocide and misery. China could have developed much faster and with human rights, as with South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan - and without the slaughter of tens of millions of people.

Nobody claimed that China is the only one to steal. Brits stole tea trees from China. Americans stole textile manufacturing from Brits.

Perhaps if those Yankees could have pointed at the Brits stealing tea trees, then the Brits would have been struck with a sense of self-realization of their own hypocrisy, and let the Yanks make off with those machine designs with no hassle?

So you're saying that we shouldn't feel sorry for these 20th/21st century companies because of what happened in the 18th and 19th centuries? The whataboutisms are nauseating.

> Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous.

No one is pretending this is how China specifically operates. This IS how certain entities from China operate. Especially certain SOE that have the backing of the CCP.

I’m not sure the whataboutism comparison helps if it’s still unclear if any superpower has been able to attain economic dominance without committing some IP theft. Japan, the UK, America, Germany, etc. If there ever was a country which played fair, they didn’t make it very far.

Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous

All the vast majority of people in the "West" know about China is whatever happens to be propagated by mainstream propagandists for current purposes. Ignorance is much more common (and hence likely) than disingenuity.

"Pretending this is somehow how China specifically operates is disingenuous."

Once again the Chinese 'moral relativism' argument I think falls flat.

"Hey look, 500 years ago someone did something, so hey, it's ok"

What is 'disingenuous' is this kind of rhetoric that completely denies the material issues at hand. China (and not just Huawei) has been systematically stealing and cheating far beyond anyone else (by the way, probably anyone else in history not that it matters), and this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

These charges are well warranted, and they should be applied to any number of entities who've encroached on general principles of trade.

If China wants to play with such shenanigans, it's fine actually, it's their choice to use this strategy, but the response should be pretty forceful as well.

Any particular books you’d recommend?

We left the 18th and 19th century a long time ago. It's not disingenuous to single out China for this behavior since China is one of the biggest player doing it and reaping so much from it in our time.

Plus, whataboutism.

> We left the 18th and 19th century a long time ago.

So? It's not like the US didn't know that it was breaking British laws back then. IP protectionism is nothing new, it is is fair to make comparisons to 18th/19th century events.

It all depends of what you make of that comparison.

Are you saying it's okay because others did it before ? That it shouldn't be debated ?

What's the position ? What is the point of preventing people from saying China is playing the IP theft game hard at the moment ?

> Are you saying it's okay because others did it before ?

Yes and no - it depends entirely on whose perspective you are arguing from (upstart vs. establishment), and even that changes over time. For the US, it used to be okay, but no longer is. Also it's not "others" who did it before, but the very same nation-state that is now screaming blue murder.

> That it shouldn't be debated ?

Oh, it should absolutely be debated, but the US has no moral high ground when making its arguments. Turnabout is fair play

> it is is fair to make comparisons to 18th/19th century events?


It's really uncalled for to accuse them of being disingenuous. Please assume good faith. They might just be ignorant.

What is with this argument that US did it 150 years ago (or X years), so it must be OK for China to do it? Is that how it works at work? Where one person steals your credit and therefore you feel it is OK to forever steal their credit? Is it what you would teach your children or how you would expect the criminal justice system to work? (Oh, everyone seems to break the law, so we'll just ignore laws in your case).

Hmm no but if everyone in MLB did steroids to get to where they are then I’m not going to be that surprised when I find out the rookie is juicing.

You wont be surprised, but you'll punish the rookie or anyone else who fails a drug test just the same. Im not surprised corps and countries steal from eachother, but I expect them to be punished when caught.

Oh totally I am of the opinion that the US needs to step up its IP protection. It only makes strategic sense to protect your competitive advantage.

I'm just pointing out that every other nation seems to have gone through a phase of "cheating" to get to where they are, to the point where I can't even say with 100% certainty that it's possible to become a technological superpower without doing it.

in a lot of cases the low-cost competitors are not only lower cost but have more features and/or better performance. They side-step a lot of the planned obsolescence and intentional feature scarcity US companies have become so dependent on to avoid meaningful R&D. Its hard not to see a lot of them as sort of a Robin Hood.

On topic though, Most of the pot-banging from Washington is at the behest of AT&T and other US carrier/handset/chip companies who are rightly livid that Huawei made it to market with 5G before they had a chance to monopolize it.

” They side-step a lot of the planned obsolescence and intentional feature scarcity US companies have become so dependent on to avoid meaningful R&D. ”

They also “side-step” the capital and years of research required to come up with the products.

Why invest in R&D when you can invest in corporate espionage for a fraction of the cost?

Not here to debate whether IP theft happens, but to be clear Huawei does also invest billions into R&D (domestic and abroad)

That's a separate issue. If Huawei violated some IP patents then why aren't they suing for that? Any meaningful R&D developments would be patented and would be publicly available and described anyways.

And if your product is so weakly innovative that a picture of the circuity or some power point slides basically give away significant trade secrets, then your product probably sucks.

These charges sound like they're for non-innovation based trade secrets, whatever those may be.

If they didn't invest in research, how were they first to market with 5G solutions?

They even stole the stuff we haven’t invented yet !!

Aren't most of the other 5G infrastructure manufactures European (Siemens, Nokia)? Do the US carriers really care where their equipment comes from?

Handset manufactures probably don't care since they're sourcing from others. Perhaps Samsung (Exynos) being the exception, but they're Korean. Apple bought Intel's 5G division.

The only chip company that I could imagine cares is Qualcomm.

> On topic though, Most of the pot-banging from Washington is at the behest of AT&T and other US carrier/handset/chip companies who are rightly livid that Huawei made it to market with 5G before they had a chance to monopolize it.

This one sentence summarized everything.

I don't think that sentence actually makes any sense. AT&T and other US carriers probably don't care who manufactures their equipment. They make money on the service they sell.

The US doesn't actually have any vendor for most of this kind of equipment, the competitors here are either European or Chinese.

As a consumer, that may be good in the short term. But innovation isn’t free. In a world where people can just copy other people’s hard work with impunity, what incentive is there to invest in innovation?

This is a tiring trope.

It’s like how the music industry kept saying that people would no longer sing and make songs, because piracy would prevent them from doing so. As if there was no money to be made, and money was the only point of singing. As if piracy ever stopped people from singing for the past 10,000 years.

Well, artists do make money from songs, by having concerts. They are selling the service and the experience of of a live performance. This was the way that it had always been done throughout human history.

Or Apple for example, they don’t make money from selling software, but they make it from selling very expensive hardware, that they force to expire after a few years.

People will keep singing and dancing and making music like they have always done. Most didn't make money from it. Sheet music changed that briefly, tapes/records/cds. Music = Copyright = money is a modern thing.

Getting billions invested in anything won't happen without a return. If a company is limited to a short window before everyone can copy means less funding and more valueless throwaway products.

There is a happy balance to be had here. Patents as they exist today is often hindering innovation rather than promoting it. E.g. 3D printing really took off when 3D printing patents started expiring. The industry was stuck while patents where enforceable.

In many industries patents are an innovation blocker. Companies often spend more money fighting patents trolls than they gain form having patents. Patens are increasingly acquired for defensive purpose to defend against patent troll attacks rather than actually protecting any innovation.

I am not against intellectual property protection, but I think how things have developed in the US in particular is excessive and counterproductive.

> less funding and more valueless throwaway products

Everything is derivative.

Even the latest generation of CPU technology pushing faster clock rates and adding more cores. It’s still derivative of the initial idea of the transistor.

You build value by building a moat. You make your business more valuable by making it harder for others to get into, almost like a natural monopoly.

Like consumer automobiles, which require a huge investment in societal knowledge and capability. Only a few countries can mass produce cars at a commercial level. Or commercial airplanes, where only a few companies can really make a profit. Or even Tesla, by changing the paradigm, from internal combustion engines, to fully electric drivetrains.

My initial comment was only to rebut the idea that you can’t do anything without massive amounts of patents and copyrights. Which in itself, has gone too far.

This is true for a lot of important drugs that don't have massively lucrative markets to recover their investment. This means fewer new antibiotics for global issues and more penis pills.

This is a shortsighted view. Evidence from many other industries with weak property rights contradicts your point. Nigeria's film industry is unable to allocate significant resources to film production in large part because Nigeria's government is incapable of enforcing copyright on behalf of the filmmakers.

Stealing IP does have an impact on capital allocation.

Doesn't Nigeria make more films than everyone else? I am not sure how this supports your point? There is no way Nigeria will put in the money that the US does.

Actually sort of true, though I might say a better example is Singapore, which attracts business in part because it has the strongest legal system and lowest corruption of the countries in southeast asia.

One can take a balanced position on this without going to either extreme. American companies have certainly abused the patent and copyright system by allowing patents to last for far too long and cover too much. Likewise copyrights have been applied for too long time periods.

Yet I don't think the solution to this problem is to abandoned both systems completely. Rather copyright period should be shortened, and patents should cover less and last for a shorter time.

Right now the system is not setup to support innovation and creation but rather to act as cash cow for big corporations.

It's not just about disregarding IP patents. It's about corporate espionage. Literally sending in spies/criminals to steal from a corporation.

Corporate espionage is a financial crime. If you have strategic secrets, then lock those damn secrets up!

Put heavy encryption on it. Keep it off the internet. Keep your computers air-gapped.

If you don’t do this, then sorry, this is your fault.

However, if someone else wants to compete with you, then they can just reverse engineer what you did. Any engineer competent enough can figure out the process details, by just working backwards. They don’t even need to bother looking at your source code or blueprints.

Comparing writing new songs to developing new technology is apples to oranges. It doesn't require billions of dollars and man-hours in R&D to follow your passion and write the next big hit. It just takes talent and a few years of practice, if that.

Making things better?

Though as used, "innovation" really means "figuring out new things to make money on", which renders your question tautological - "in a world where it's harder to invent new tricks that make money, what incentive is there to invest in inventing new things that make money?".

Nailed it.

I hear OSS is doing well when it comes to innovation...

Most people working on OSS are paid by companies that rely heavily on closed source innovation in other areas of business.

They are commoditizing their compliments.

Even if that claim about "most people" was true, the point is still valid - OSS contributors _are_ "innovating" (creating new things to make money on), despite the innovations being freely copied. In part, the innovation happens _because_ or _with_help_ of free copying. Free sharing of some ideas/knowledge can be benefitial to innovation.

Nobody is claiming _all_ ideas business finds / works on should be immediately shared freely with the world. The benefactors of a business are naturally motivated to protect their know-how. But it should be the business' responsibility to protect its secrets, not HN commenters or governments'. If an idea can't be kept secret, then government issues patents, which should be time limited and regional.

I hear most OSS contributions come from people who make a living working at proprietary software companies...

the state of OSS hardware is pretty sad.

As is the state of OSS medicine.

Open-source software is great but it's generally more derivative than innovative (there are exceptions of course).

Innovation is a techno/bureau -cratic buzzword, which (noun) roughly means "new thing that is novel and can be used to boost the economy". A derivative of an old product can be an innovation, if you can still make or attract money on it.

Being first to market has its advantages.

Shrinking advantages as the delta-t between release and the appearance of dozens of stolen cheap knockoffs decreases.

Investing in innovation keeps you ahead. Moral of the story is that you should be constantly innovating... not innovating one time and trying to keep it a secret for maximum capitalistic market extortion.

Why would US carriers want to pot-bang about this? They would only lose money by doing so. AT&T and Huawei are not competitors.

> not only lower cost but have more features and/or better performance

Yeah, many of these vendors do improve upon the original products quite a bit so even while initial versions can be shoddy knockoffs, later editions are often times improved compared to the original.

> Its hard not to see a lot of them as sort of a Robin Hood.

They're definitely profiting, and they're doing it partially through lower worker standards and looser laws on pollution. They are acting for profit, not to fix the flaws of Western capitalism.

If they're exposing the flaws of western capitalism, I view that as a positive. That they are also acting for profit doesn't negate the value of forcing incumbent US megacorps to actually get off their butts and invest in improving products.

You said it yourself: later editions are improved often times. Yes, some of this gain is due to lower worker standard, but I highly doubt ATT, VZ, etc. are really maximizing for worker standards, either.

Those ATT workers sleeping 8 to a garage and pitching themselves off buildings sure is a dang tragedy.

It's basically wild wild west anarchism. It's like take "western capitalism" and extrapolate to a worse place. I get that western capitalism (whatever that actually means anymore) has gone off the rails some. But seeing the Chinese approach as a just come-uppance is like being glad that killers have showed up to get rid of all of the bullies. It just gets worse.

This is not true and implies a misunderstanding of the industry.

AT&T, like most carriers, is perfectly happy to get super cheap and gear from China, at a fraction of the price they'd pay otherwise.

In fact, carriers around the world are the one's pushing to use Huawei.

Second - the US doesn't really have any capabilities in the 5G space, for the most part. It's European companies: Erikson and Nokia that have capabilities. Cisco, Lucent etc. are not even on the radar on this issue.

Given that your position is completely at odds with the reality of the market, you'll have to provide some material evidence of your claim that the US is just up in a fuss over their lack of dominance of 5G, otherwise, they just don't seem true.

Once again, all of this narrative misleads us from the real underlying issue, which is that Huawei and others have been systematically and openly stealing property.

> real underlying issue, which is that Huawei and others have been systematically and openly stealing property.

Issue for whom? Most people are perfectly happy with one company learning and mimicking products of another company, if they get cheaper and better versions. This is perfectly natural. If some rich guys feel like China got ahead of them too much too quickly, that's too bad - they should have protected their stuff, not teach Chinese to manufacture it.

Sending in spies to steal protected information is blatant theft by any definition.

The number of people here trying to downplay what's going on is astonishing, I can only imagine they themselves are not legit posters.

State and corporate espionage isn't anything new. As well as learning and copying business (your "theft"). Japanese did the same with semiconductors.

I don't know what _exactly_ has been going on with Huawei and other companies, but I understand that the publicized outrage about Huawei and other Chinese companies stealing from America isn't natural. Most people were fine with Chinese advancing and copying, since everybody benefited from cheap labor/products. Until the powerful in the West realized american economy is in bad shape, power balance in the world is shifting and it's time to do something about it. I guess shaping public opinion on China is part of that.

It’s not just China that does this. This is a proven path for developing economies, that still have a labor price advantage. It’s the reason “Made in Germany” exists as a label, forced by the brits to mark “inferior goods” that turned out to be cheaper and better. Just like China now...

US theft of UK IP back in the day (early 19th century textiles especially) was a big deal.

Hollywood exists in California because Edison's patents weren't respected there https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/51722/thomas-edison-drov...

Why not mention the rest of the story: that the U,S. and Great Britain engaged at the time in two bitter wars? Are you claiming that China is justified is stealing U.S. IP because the two nations are at war currently?

The specific timing on your allegations is off. A lot of the IP theft occurred in peacetime. The US and UK were at war for a total of like 11 years, and there was a period many decades of IP theft. It wasn't as state sponsored as it was during the period between the two wars, but it still happened.

Hell as late as 1850 the US straight up didn't recognize copyright of non US citizens. I forget exactly when that changed.

It is a DoJ allegation and that department has lower credibility than gas station sushi. It is perfectly possible that as Chinese companies continue to prove to be more competitive across the tech value chain USA will increasingly take irrational positions to hurt Chinese companies. This is an old American model that as long as Americans can control you (la South Korea, Japan,etc.), Americans treat you as business partners but since American influence on China is next to none, American come up with all these allegations.

> They didn't stop to consider that by teaching China how to build their products they were creating a new low-cost competitor.

This is pretty obvious and highly desirable. I think if all other countries adopt this chinese model they will be more competitive and earn more without engaging in wars and American companies will be forced to be lot more competitive.

Note that China is already making pretty big moves in other areas of Tech. Tiktok happens to be incredibly popular and I would expect DoJ to make more delinquent claims about Tiktok soon.

I think this is just the way the world works. Samsung was found to infringe on Apple's design patents in the US... but not South Korea. Europe battling the US over raising digital taxes on US companies. Etc, it's just some economic nationalism.

Exactly. All's fair in love and war... Provided you play by our rules, is what the companies are espousing.

Going out to plunder foreign countries for cheap labour and materials and then complaining when they begin to 'return the favour' so to speak, is just being woefully ignorant.

Completely false.

1) The 'rules' are agreed upon and mutual.

2) Providing 100's of millions of people with jobs is not 'plunder' it's a win for both sides.

"is just being woefully ignorant" - your comment.

This disregards the fact that countries' leaders have obligations only to their own citizenry and thus not to foreign countries. China is justified in their actions from their perspective, but not ours. We should never have allowed their ascendancy.

> These American companies thought they could build their products for a fraction of the price in China and increase margins.

Perhaps a bit of an over generalization. Some were interested in licensing technology to Huawei as was the case with Akhan.


This case was especially alarming considering the dual-purpose potential of the IP.

I'm sure the quarterly reports looked good though!

Cough Cough .....short-termism.....Cough Cough

Not so much the yearlies, but the quarterlies!

I would note that these companies were likely paying a Chinese company's American subsidiary for these services.

Paying an American company—and such a subsidiary shell company, despite being purely a legal fiction, is still an American company—for its services, no matter who owns it, should not result in China being taught how to build your tech; and it's not the responsibility of other American corporations to ensure it is. If such bad things happen, that's the fault of the American government for allowing the business relationship between the foreign company and its American subsidiary to exist, in light of clear treaties (WIPO, for one) that require the American government to embargo trade with countries that don't comply with them.

By analogy: it's not your web browser's responsibility to protect its memory from other processes snooping on it. That's the OS's job. If another process can read your process's memory, it was a failure on the OS's part. The process shouldn't be expected to be spending resources securing its memory; it should be expected only to pay its dues to the OS (in e.g. context switches) such that this gets handled for it.

But a program has to request access to any resource from the OS so that the kernel is able to enforce those rules. That's not a good analogy to how individuals and companies in an open society interact with government and each other.

Corporations exist at a state's sufferance. If a Chinese company wants to create an American subsidiary that's going to predictably going to break the law, the state can (and, in fact, is probably legally obligated to) just not grant them a business license.

Or, after the fact, when the state realizes what is happening, they can dissolve the subsidiary's business license—just like with the DMCA, where the state can require local DNS resolvers to not resolve the domains of foreign companies found to be breaking local laws.

It's also surprising to see this classed as racketeering. Has IP piracy ever been prosecuted under RICO laws before?

You mean "for a few decades"? Modern China hasn't even existed for 50 years yet (and the revolution made sure that there is absolutely no way to even pretend that China's way of life before the revolution has _any_ bearing on modern China).

That might be the case for the companies, but what about the rest of us?

There's two ways this can end:

1. China becomes the global #1, we all get social credit scores, etc

2. Something is done to stop the ascendancy of China

Our losses far exceed the companies' short-term gains.

These US companies are making more money than ever before.

So I’m not sure what they have to complain about.

I guess the question is: how did the companies that did not do this fare? i.e. was it really an option not to do it?

These American companies thought that having them sign a confidentiality agreement would mean they would actually follow through with the agreement. It wasn't just a "send em the plans and get our widgets for cheap!"

I don’t feel sorry for them because those companies are engaged in something else that’s intrinsically bad.

But that doesn’t diminish my criticism for China and their culpability in egregious acts. Our greatest sin is ever working with any authoritarian country but their sin is they fundamentally deny what it means to be a human being.

Here’s the DOJ statement:


Also here's Huawei Technologies Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy talking to Maria Bartiromo:


That was a terrible interview - are they all like that? She was just shouting at him and every time he tried to elaborate on their testing mechanisms she just called him a communist. He asked for the evidence and she said that she doesn't need evidence... ??? !!!

As much as I assume that Huawei and co have backdoors in foreign electronics, I can't get over the racism and hatred for China shared by her and the comment section.

Are the comments real? Everyone is claiming that he's a traitor, a "Clinton friend", a liar, a commie, and that he should rot in hell. And the videos already got 80k views and a near perfect like/dislike ratio. Am I crazy for thinking this a bad interview, or does half the United States really feel this way?

It will get worse before it’s better.

Sometimes I wanted to get off this planet so I can get away from humans and all of those irrationality and hatred. But in retrospect I probably just need to get rid of the part of me that are engaging the same.

Bartiromo has become one of the nutjobs.

Wow, Maria really ruffled his feathers. I looked Andy up, and found that he's also a Board Member of George Mason Univ's Intl Cyber Center. He previously advised the white house on cybersecurity and a deputy director of DHS.


In a small town in Israel, called Hod Hasharon there was a company named "Toga Networks".

This company was paying as twice as you currenly earn, if you work at Cisco or Juniper. Just like that, as twice as, just ocme work with us.

One year went by, and it turned out that Toga Network is no other than Huawei.

So I do not know about stealing source code, but I know they looked after its IP which is in people's mind.

What exactly is so bad about hiring people with good résumés? Tesla hired people from Jaguar, BMW etc. is that nefarious as well?

> IP which is in peoples mind

I think a general term for acquiring that IP is called employment.

when you target crowd from 2 specific companies and offer 2x market value salaries it is more aggressive than just "employment".

Yep, it's called job poaching.

Are you saying Toga Networks was always Huawei and they hid that fact, or that 7 years after they were founded Huawei just bought them? (like it says on the front page of their website [1])

[1] - http://toganetworks.com/

exactly that. was told so during interviews back in 2011.

What year was that?

Huawei bought Toga in 2016.


Toga started 2008. Was owned 100% by Huawei - in a chain of holdings. The came out of the closet in 2016 once established.

While this doesn't directly have to do with the CCP having backdoors in Huawei products, it does seem a bit too coincidental that the DOJ is just happening to go after them since corporate espionage is a common theme when dealing with China.

Hopefully this reflects a changing of the tides when it comes to enforcing IP laws in China rather than just an excuse to target a single company. I don't even like IP laws but if we are going to hold the rest of the industrialized world to the letter of the law then at some point China will have to be brought into the fold.

I think the perception that people commonly have of IP protection in China is out-of-date by several years.

From what I've read, the level of IP enforcement has increased dramatically since about 2014, to the point where there are more IP cases heard in Chinese courts now than in any other country. Likewise, more patents are now filed in China each year than in any other country. It's also not as if local companies always win disputes - foreign companies apparently have a very good track record in Chinese courts.

There's a description of the changes in recent years here:

1. https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/05/07/rapid-changes-chinese-...

2. https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/chinas-progress-on-intellect...

Back when China was in the earlier stages of industrialization, it really didn't care much about IP. But things aren't the same any more: China spends about as much on R&D as the US, and it has its own IP to protect. IP law was not on their radar before, but it very much appears to be now. But you can imagine how difficult it is to set such a system up. They've had to create an entirely new legal system, train judges, etc. China has changed so rapidly that it's difficult for these sorts of systems to keep up.

China protecting their own IP does not preclude China conducting industrial espionage in other countries; for that matter, the US NSA conducts industrial espionage in other countries for the benefit of US companies.


Parent comment asks when China will start respecting IP. I addressed that.

>I don't even like IP laws but if we are going to hold the rest of the industrialized world to the letter of the law

But we have proof that the NSA steals and shares secrets with US companies so throwing rocks in a glass house maybe?

> "Huawei is alleged to have stolen source code for Company 1’s routers, which it then used in its own products."

I've never really understood how IP theft works. I've been a software engineer for a long time and I know that Reading and making sense of an existing million line code base is a hella of a lot harder than just writing new code from scratch. Why on earth would anyone want to steal source code from a competitor?

Million lines of code from scratch is not easy in any way. Especially if you are talking about battle-tested code, which had already faced and accounted for many corner cases.

Maybe the best way is to write it yourself and when you face an issue you try to see how they solved it? It's fairly doable to understand a small part of the code until you see what they needed to do. I wouldn't call it reading all the millions of lines,I agree with OP that that would most likely take longer.

That's a great article i read a long time ago. :)

But, That's different. We're not talking about rewriting an existing codebase that already exists and has a ton of legacy behavior that needs to be maintained.

They're supposedly writing new code with new functionality, and instead of writing it themselves, the implication is that they'd rather use someone else's smelly old legacy code, rather than write it themselves. I would love to have seen the look on those engineers faces when some spy dropped off the packet of code they were supposed to integrate. I just don't see that happening.

Reading existing code bases is hard enough. But then to go and try to integrate another company's codebase into your own, especially if it's millions of lines of code, I'd say thanks but no thanks.

I think the train on Huawei has already left the station. The most likely scenario is a U.S. maybe a few states highly dependent on U.S. security assurances vis-a-vis China toeing the line and everybody else using some combination of Huawei and Nokia/Ericsson in various combinations within their infrastructure based on how close they align with the U.S. or China.

This whole thing looks just like AIIB a couple years ago where the U.S. made a huge stink about not joining the club and in the end everybody but Japan and Taiwan signed up.

>Charges also Reveal Huawei’s Business in North Korea and Assistance to the Government of Iran in Performing Domestic Surveillance //

Surely evidence would reveal that, but this DOJ press release doesn't appear to be concerned with that.

>As revealed by the government’s independent investigation and review of court filings, //

Mwah-ha-ha-ha! They know how to tell 'em.

>the new charges in this case relate to the alleged decades-long efforts by Huawei, and several of its subsidiaries, both in the U.S. and in the People’s Republic of China, to misappropriate intellectual property //

Aren't new charges a new case? Aren't these extending speculations rather leading for a case that is in process, shouldn't they make the allegations and present any evidence - if they wish - rather than make extended claims bracketed by "allegedly". I can't believe that this has been written as anything other than a chance to make unsubstantiated claims ... have the courts hear the charges and then expound at length about the conviction.

I thought these sorts of things from one of the main parties involved (the USA government) were strongly decried by courts as they tend to colour juries and judicial bodies; aren't the DOJ perverting the course of justice here with such a diatribe?

>"Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets and other sophisticated U.S. technology were successful. Through the methods of deception described above, the defendants obtained nonpublic intellectual property relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology and robotics. As a consequence of its campaign to steal this technology and intellectual property, Huawei was able to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage."

That may all be true, but if you're currently prosecuting a case and have to determine if it's true it would be nice, as a DOJ, to not making statements that -- despite legal ass covering -- is clearly intended to presuppose the guilt of the defendant.

When USA decided to go after Huawei to bolster their own telecoms companies, I wondered if they realised they'd end up stooping so low?

All indictments are written like this. Of course the prosecution thinks the defendant is guilty, that's why they're bringing the charges. In an adversarial legal system, it's their job to make the case for guilt.

>is clearly intended to presuppose the guilt of the defendant

This does not presuppose guilt in a way that would represent a direct conflict of interest in the US Justice system.

The Department of Justice is an executive agency whose directive is to bring indictments like this to trial - like a District Attorney.

The US court system, or the judicial branch, have no obligation to agree with the Department of Justice's position and are actually often don't side with them on matters like this where they test the precedent and definition of the law.

Ironically, the Chinese court system on the other hand has the rule of 3 Supremes - in that the views of the Communist party takes precedent over written law in judgements. In China, if a similar charge levied by the executive branch, this actually means guilt is presupposed in those passing judgement due to their lack of separation.

It's clearly ahead in some respect and behind in others. Particularly ahead in 5G where it's the clear world leader, behind in video recording though. The P30's EIS is seriously garbage compared to iPhone.

Well here is one comparison:


iPhone 11 and Pixel 4 do seem better, but I would be careful declaring it "garbage". I just think they have reached parity- where each vendor could leapfrog the others for any particular feature for successive generations.

The evidence is a Huawei product announcement?

This was a convenient find on the web.. better is that their equipment (for base stations anyway) has been through equipment evaluations.

>In one case, a technology company looking for a partnership with Huawei sent over a presentation deck with confidential information about its business in order to generate commercial interest with Huawei. From the indictment:

> Immediately upon receipt of the slide deck, each page of which was marked ‘Proprietary and Confidential’ by Company 6, HUAWEI distributed the slide deck to HUAWEI engineers, including engineers in the subsidiary that was working on technology that directly competed with Company 6’s products and services. These engineers discussed developments by Company 6 that would have application to HUAWEI’s own prototypes then under design.

Well, yeah, what the hell else are you supposed to do when some supplier sends you a highly technical slide deck, except discuss it with your engineers working on the same thing? I seriously can't fathom why anybody involved here would have any expectation to the contrary.

Copying successful technology is a goes-around, comes-around cycle. In 1780-1850, the USA was the premier pirate, stealing the world's premier technology and know-how, from Britain. By 2050, the Chinese will be fighting the very same battle with someone else (Nigeria and Angola maybe?), and bitterly bemoaning IP theft in the same terms.

<quote>and using proxies such as professors working at research institutions to obtain and provide the technology to the defendants</quote> You know this talk about using American Professors as proxies for exfiltrating information reminds me of this: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00291-2

Any lawyer that can pitch in? I don't think that this fits the spirit of the RICO laws.

Since when do lawyers care about the spirit of a law, instead of what the law makes possible.

Which is their billing rates.

Pretty clearly Huawei is now the cow that the US and China will be fighting over. Meng is now likely to be caught up in this as well regardless of how the current charges go. The US standing right up to China and punching it the nose. It's an inflection point for the world economy.

This another example of what is called the Master-Slave dialectic from Hegel, an 18th century philosopher. Something that I studied in a philosophy class and had a profound influence on my understanding of work. Please take 10' to understand it and it applies to the relationship between engineers and salespeople, to the relationship now between China and the USA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_dialectic

Can you explain how this relates to this story?

so what does this mean? do they haul all the executives and workers into court? what happens if they are found guilty? do the executives go to jail, is the company forced to shutdown, or do they just have to pay a fine and all is good. hell, do they even have to pay the fine?

so many questions :(

Well, I am not an expert on that particular subject, but Huawei's CFO was arrested in Canada by the end of 2018. It seems US upped the ante a little and really decided to bring her in to face charges.

Now that would bring some fireworks. I am not convinced China would not respond in kind.

> I am not convinced China would not respond in kind.

Indeed. In diplomatic retaliation, China responded to the Huawei CFO's arrest in Canada by quickly arresting two Canadians on charges without evidence or explanation. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. These Canadians have been in Chinese detention for over a year without access to a lawyer or the ability to speak to family or loved ones. Canadian pawns in a USA-China game.


I assume it's mostly symbolic, like when Chinese military personnel were charged with cyber crimes. It's mostly outside of our jurisdiction, it just elevates the international rhetoric beyond "we don't trust you guys" to "we have hard evidence that you're committing crimes". Could have an impact on Europe's usage of Huawei infrastructure, for example.

Something seems off.

If China steals all the US IP, why are US technology companies still so valuable?

For example, Apple is a very valuable US technology company that also has extensive dealings in China.

I see it this way, apologies if it seems off topic or judgmental but....

The third world is a place where many people have an idea of astuteness that differs from intelligence.

Intelligence is the ability to design, build, create, manage, or otherwise achieve something in a novel way.

Astuteness is the ability to take an advantage when one presents itself. Think Diego Maradona, or Aladdin.

US technology companies have a great deal of creative intelligence, institutional knowledge, trust from customers, access to talent, and freedom to execute on corporate strategy.

But even the company you mention, Apple, is arguably being outdone by Samsung (moved production out of China) and Huawei (Chinese).

> why are US technology companies still so valuable?

Marketing plays a big role.

Two things come to mind: 1) Consumers want an iPhone, not an iPhone equivalent from China, 2) Apple might have enough influence and connections to evade blatant theft.

>The superseding indictment also includes new allegations about Huawei and its subsidiaries’ involvement in business and technology projects in countries subject to U.S., E.U. and/or U.N. sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea – as well as the company’s efforts to conceal the full scope of that involvement. The defendants’ activities, which included arranging for shipment of Huawei goods and services to end users in sanctioned countries, were typically conducted through local affiliates in the sanctioned countries. Reflecting the inherent sensitivity of conducting business in jurisdictions subject to sanctions, internal Huawei documents allegedly referred to such jurisdictions with code names. For example, the code “A2” referred to Iran, and “A9” referred to North Korea. edit from this superseding indictment itself:

>For example, an official HUAWEI manual labeled “Top Secret” instructed certain individuals working for HUAWEI to conceal their employment with HUAWEI during encounters with foreign law enforcement officials.

>Beginning in or about 2000, the defendants HUAWEI and FUTUREWEI misappropriated operating system source code for internet routers, command line interface (a structure of textual commands used to communicate with routers) and operating system manuals from a U.S. technology company headquartered in the Northern District of California (“Company 1”), an entity the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury, and incorporated the misappropriated source code into HUAWEI internet routers that FUTUREWEI sold in the United States from approximately April 2002 until December 2002. Toward this end, HUAWEI and FUTUREWEI hired or attempted to hire Company 1 employees and directed these employees to misappropriate Company 1 source code on behalf of the defendants.

>In or about July 2004, at a trade show in Chicago, Illinois, a HUAWEI employee (“Individual-3”), an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, was discovered in the middle of the night after the show had closed for the day in the booth of a technology company (“Company 3”), an entity the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury, removing the cover from a networking device and taking photographs of the circuitry inside. Individual-3 wore a badge listing his employer as “Weihua,” HUAWEI spelled with its syllables reversed. In official correspondence with Company 3 shortly after this incident, HUAWEI claimed that Individual-3 attended the trade show in his personal capacity and that his attempted misappropriation occurred “without Huawei’s authorization.” According to a purported official statement published in Reuters, HUAWEI claimed, “This is a junior engineer who had never traveled to the United States before. His actions do not reflect the culture or values of Huawei.” Notably, a resume that Individual-3 submitted to the U.S. government in approximately 2012 stated that he had been a “senior R&D Engineer” at HUAWEI from 1997 until July 2004, the time of the incident.


US political and militarized forces protecting corporate interest for the sake of...what again? Upholding ridiculous IP law?

Is it naive to think that IP law should be disintegrated? How would the world, and more specifically the digital landscape, look if there was no concept of IP.

There'd be little incentive to invest in long-term R&D projects. Where's the profit in research on a new drug if you'll have to immediately compete with other pharma companies in selling it?

I wonder when the US will start charging Israeli companies for IP theft?....

Here's my question: which American companies are so insanely dumb that they actually thought sharing any version of any of this made any sense? are these the organizational consequences of rich people not actually managing the companies that the engineers are working for? Maybe the engineers are like "Just to hell with my country, my company, my neighbors my family and futire myself, I'll do whatever it takes to get my raise. The left-wing folks at Berkeley are right, everyone's here for the common good, we just don't really understand the Chinese. We should share more, and gain their trust."

Is it truly so hard to understand that what is the best action for oneself isn't necessarily the best action for the community (however one defines community)?

American companies want to sell their products in China. Quite often that requires them to base some part of production in China.

As for the last, yes, there is a large cultural gap between the US and the Chinese and frankly that gap exists mostly on the US side. I'd argue that without understanding the language, you'll never really understand another culture.

Sure, you can base your understanding on a few people that do understand the language, but your understanding will always be skewed by their prejudices.

In my lifetime, I've dealt with business people from a variety of cultures. Some are honest, some aren't. Some are cheap, some believe you have to spend money to make money. Some are successful, some aren't. None of that aligns with any particular culture.

We assign attributes to remote cultures based on reports of the extremes (because the day to day doesn't get reported). When the same behavior gets reported in our own cultures, we simply say well, it's those guys that were bad, not the entire culture.

"A ‘competition management group’ was tasked with reviewing the submissions and awarding monthly bonuses to the employees who provided the most valuable stolen information."

Just wow.

How could any nation, let alone any company, allow any employee of Huawei anywhere near their operations?

Literally, they are incented to steal whatever they can from you, out in the open, systematically, with nary much effort to cover it up it seems.

So Huawei is coping US companies and still creating better equipment than those it copy from? Ask anyone (well maybe anyone outside the US) in the tele industry and they'll tell you that Huawei is cheaper, better and also faster to fix a problem in both software and hardware. At least I have never heard anyone state otherwise outside of anon people on a forum. So, ask a real person and see.

The argument goes that Huawei would not be able to "create better equipment" had they been unable to wrongfully copy others' work in the first place. If the allegations are true, Huawei enjoys a position that resulted from unlawful and immoral behavior, and their ill-gotten gains should be confiscated from them.

Who knows what would have happened had Huawei done all their own R&D in the first place. Maybe they'd be in the same place as they are today; maybe not. But when you start from a position of copying someone else's work, the presumption is that everything you added since is tainted, and any profits should be someone else's, not yours.

relax bro,

we all stand in other's shoulders.

also, you in what army ? are you going to invade Asia ?

There are two ways to stand on another’s shoulders. One is with consent; the other (to mix legal metaphors) is assault.

It would be one thing if Huawei said, “do you mind if I use this?” and received permission. But if they had to use deception to gather information, that’s a pretty clear indication that it’s wrong and is done without consent.

The entire legal system that exists as of today is mainly to benefit rich folks.

You should read the book "Code of Capital".

The CCP has made it clear that "rule of law" as stated by Mr. Obama is about favoring western capital interests.

I think it's a bigger crime that 6 billion people do not get to enjoy the same standard of living as the 2 billion people on top.

By having no brittle IP rules, the CCP makes sure Chinese businesses stay dynamic and continue to dominate.

Hypothetically speaking....the no-armies-involved solution would be to ban their products, take possession of their US assets, encourage allies to boycott their products, sue them in foreign courts, and repatriate manufacturing of US-based companies' devices to make the Huawei spying campaign far more difficult.

> ban their products

which ? the cheap phone everybody uses while taking a dump ?

> take possession of their US assets.

which ? UST bonds ? in the situation you describe, the Chinese supply chain are far more valuable.

> encourage allies to boycott their products

nobody is stupid enough to allow their teenagers to fight a land war in Asia.

> sue them in foreign courts.

Sue them where ? Hague ? how does it stop them selling phones to africans / other asians exactly ?

> repatriate manufacturing of US-based companies' devices

Do you have a 300 million + healthy well educated labour force working for sub 15 dollars an hour ?

Good Luck Bro !

The problem with that is if Huawei succeeds with stolen technology, which at this point is known true, then who exactly will create new hardware and software? Since these companies aren't earning anything from stolen tech. Huawei will actually have to do something themselves and wind up charging the same amount as everyone else.

Irony that a country led by Donald Trump is charging companies with racketeering. Shows what a joke we have become.

What the fuck is up with these comments? Are you all really okay with blatant lawbreaking with no consequences?

laws =/= morals

All low level geopolitics from Trumpist USA.

The message is, you Chinese can do some tech but don't grow too big! Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, Amd, Google, AWS, Cisco. Those big must remain American.

Mobile World Congress suden cancelation because Huawei represents half of it... Same same

Isn't this what TPP was supposed to solve? It's ironic that the Trump admin killed Obama's China containment strategy, only to try to implement it in a half assed way without any allied alignment. Also doesn't help Trump is a highly polarizing figure.

Pretty much describes the Trump admin in a nutshell. Whatever Obama did, get rid of it, regardless of its value, then implement a worse solution instead.

I'm not sure how TPP was supposed to be a China containment strategy. I've heard this said a few times, but the explanations for how it was supposed to work always seemed like hand-wavey versions of "well, it would make US partnerships with non-China countries stronger and that would somehow contain China".

The TPP was absolutely designed to be a China containment strategy.

The idea was to reduce trade barriers within the Pacific region, which would make trade there cheaper and hence more attractive vs China.

Specifically, lower wage countries (Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico) would have been more attractive as outsourcing locations compared to China, and in return good and services from high wage countries would have been cheaper in those countries making them more attractive compared to Chinese competitors.

As a specific example, most industrial machinery imported to Vietnam is subject to a 20% import tariff[1]. This means US companies like Caterpillar and GE are relying on political intervention to win deals[2], instead of being more competitive on price.

[1] https://www.customs.gov.vn/SitePages/Tariff-Search.aspx?port...

[2] https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/nation-and-world/us-...

Right, but you need to show that knocking down tariffs like the Vietnam one would actually directly result in more non-Chinese trade. I can pretty much guarantee that even without the 20% tariff, US imports would still be far more expensive than Chinese equivalents. Do you have any economic analysis articles or papers you can point me to that model the expected impacts based on actual market prices and labor costs?

Sure. Here's one on a potential free trade agreement between the US and Malaysia[1] (which is another TPP nation) that calculates direct changes:

As shown, following a free trade, the Malaysia’s export to the USA would increase by USD 30984 million or 7 percent and the US export to Malaysia would increase by USD 16051 million(22 percent). The substantial increase in the volume of export between two countries is due to removal of trade barriers. The higher increase in the US export to Malaysia relative to the Malaysia export to the US is because Malaysia currently has a higher tariff than the US.

Worth noting that it's absolutely unclear if it would have worked, but how TPP was supposed to be a China containment strategy is clear (which was your original question).

[1] http://www2.southeastern.edu/orgs/econjournal/index_files/JI...

Thanks! I'm still looking for an analysis on how this would impact the Asia region in general, and China specifically. For example, from the paper, the net result export impact outside the US-Malaysia trade relationship would be a decline:

"Further, the export of Malaysia and the US to the world is expected to decline by 0.8 percent and 0.1 percent respectively."

But it doesn't break out "rest of world" into groups, so it's not clear what the impact to China would be, if any. To me, the implication is that without a corresponding drop in imports from China, the net result is zero. Unfortunately the tables at the end are garbled, so I can't see in Table 2 what the import impacts would be from their dataset.

It would have pretty much locked China out of the domestic markets of many Southeast Asian countries and closely coupled their economies to the US, making it harder to do business with China.

It's basically what China does today with their neighbors. Economic integration -> domestic power.

Again, I'm not sure how TPP was actually supposed to accomplish what you're saying. As far as I know, TPP didn't restrict participants from trading with China, and it's not clear to me what would have economically discouraged them from doing so. Maybe I'm wrong - I genuinely want to know.

The text of the TPP basically ensured a "special trade relationship" between signers that outside, non-singers, would not be able to compete with. I would re-read the text of the TPP and see for yourself. It was basically a group trade agreement that guaranteed favorable exchanges. It's not that technically, they wouldn't be able to trade with China, but practically speaking, there was little chance.

"Favorable" for multinationals in that ISDS claims would allow companies to circumvent regulations and target economically vulnerable areas: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/isds-lawsuit-financing-tpp_n_...

It was also hostile towards government efforts to require source access, which interferes with the right to repair: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/time-to-act-on-tpp-is-no...

The TPP was a handout to multinationals and an attack on workers across the US and Pacific. It's a good thing that it didn't come to fruition.

I did read the text of TPP and it still isn't clear how it would have guaranteed that signers would not continue trading in large part with China. What I'm looking for is an actual economic analysis showing that TPP would have made it so that not trading with China carried a significant cost benefit in comparison to utilizing its market efficiencies and lower costs. I've yet to see such an analysis from a credible source, so I'm still working under the assumption that signers would have continued trading with China without any significant checks on its economy or policies.

The text of the TPP basically ensured a "special trade relationship" between signers that outside, non-singers, would not be able to compete with.

It's not that technically, they wouldn't be able to trade with China, but practically speaking, there was little chance.

This isn't true. Australia's biggest trading partner is China and there was no chance the TPP was going to stop that trade.

It was aimed at China, but not like this at all. read my other comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22322371

Ironically, this is an attempt by the Trump administration to steal IP from China. US firms are behind in 5G because they have sat on the sidelines while Huawei engineered the chipsets.

It's tremendously ironic that these charges will likely allow US firms to steal money and/or IP from Huawei through what is for all intents and purposes the Trump administration's fiat.

Worse yet, as has been the pattern with the Trump administration so far, many aspects of the economy that were relatively stable and allowed planning and investment have been destroyed, like when a child throws a tantrum and upsets a board game sending the pieces onto the floor. Many international agreements, standards, and trade and diplomatic relationships have been set back decades by the administration.

Note that the major claims have all been false so far:

- The daughter (a journalist) of the Huawei CEO was harrassed and detained without cause, in what was essentially a kidnapping for ransom/extortion. How did the American people not feel outrage when Trump did this?

- There have been repeated accusations of backdoors into 5G hardware, but yet no example of a device that has been hacked by the US or any private sector researchers.

- US officials have (quite inappropriately) tried to foment xenophobia and hatred of Chinese immigrants in the US. This combined with Trump's xenophobic comments show the US's hand quite clearly. China is now a rival and no dirty tactics are off limits.

As an American, I am so deeply embarrassed by all of this.

Hold up, hold up. Did you just describe Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, as "a journalist"?

If you're gonna peddle a biased narrative, put some effort into making it appear reasonable.

My narrative had one factual problem, Meng's job title, but it is not biased.

> Ironically, this is an attempt by the Trump administration to steal IP from China. US firms are behind in 5G because they have sat on the sidelines while Huawei engineered the chipsets.

Proof for the claim that US is trying to steal IP from Huawei?

> The daughter (a journalist) of the Huawei CEO was harrassed and detained without cause, in what was essentially a kidnapping for ransom/extortion. How did the American people not feel outrage when Trump did this?

This is news to me and I can't find anything with a search. Are you referring to Meng Wanzhou? If so, your facts are muddy at best. Meng was arrested in Canada on request of the US, and is currently in the Canadian legal system (under house arrest) facing extradition. She's also directly named in the new charges. Far from being a journalist, she's the CFO of Huawei. And while she was neither harrassed (she's been very complimentary of her detainors) nor detained without cause (the US government was clear about what charges they alleged), China on the other hand arrested two Canadians in retribution fully without cause on bogus espionage charges, in an attempt to assert leverage over Canadian officials to circumvent due process.

Trump's comments over China and Huawei have been inflammatory and frustrating to Canadians, but let's not straight up make stuff up, if this is what you were referring to.

You can charge a company with RICO? Maybe we can charge a political party then.


>Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

A corporation is an organization. Also, if you go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corru..., there's list of instances of companies and even government agencies being charged.

U.S. law says corporations are people. People can be charged with RICO. It may be weird, but it's consistent.

Corporations are people mainly when it’s convenient. I am not aware of a company being sent to jail or sentenced to death. Regular persons can’t always settle things by paying a big (or small) fine.

The corporate death penalty (i.e. judicial dissolution) is a thing in the US, but is very rarely used.


> Corporations are people mainly when it’s convenient

Exactly. Right now it's convenient for the DOJ that Huawei is a person and can be charged with RICO. Frankly I'm glad to see the "corporations are people" farce being used for good for once.

I have a Huawei phone and home gateway ... oh dear.

I wonder how much GM and Boeing depends on the Chinese home market , two can play that game since the soybean tradewar went so great they had to bailout oops sorry "aid" the farmers.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact