AMD and Nvidia silicon manufacturing secrets allegedly stolen and sold to China

Nvidia mobile Pascal performance

Shady dealings have been going on in the East. According to a report on DigiTimes a former TSMC engineer has been accused of stealing the secrets of their 28nm process and taking them across the Taiwan Straits to Chinese rival, HLMC.

Check out our guide to the best graphics cards because it’s not all about TSMC-made chips.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) produce the chips for the great and the good of the PC hardware market… well, specifically Nvidia and latterly AMD. They’re one of the biggest processor manufacturers around, along with Samsung and Intel, but it looks like their Chinese rivals are desperate for a way to catch up.

TSMC’s 28nm process has been used to manufacture the GPUs for both the big graphics card companies in the past and the mainland maybe wanted a slice of that manufacturing action.

Nvidia GTX Titan X Maxwell

The report claims the former engineer, known only as Hsu, has been accused of taking details and materials relating to TSMC’s 28nm manufacturing process and handing them over to Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC) after being offered a job there. The engineer was arrested before he even had a chance to start his new job on mainland China.

This isn’t the first reported instance of potentially shady dealings involving HLMC. DigiTimes previously reported that the Chinese foundry had headhunted a team of up to 50 research and development engineers from Taiwan’s first semiconductor company, United Microelectronics (UMC), to help them get their 28nm production process up to speed

DigiTimes also alleges that some Chinese memory manufacturers have been doing the same thing, headhunting Taiwanese talent to get their own fabs off the ground, and that Micron are taking legal action against some of their Taiwan partners for allegedly nicking their tech and handing it over to China-based RAM companies.

These are interesting times for Taiwanese manufacturers…