A new report by The Information details “a pattern of dubious tactics” employed by China’s Huawei to obtain trade secrets from a variety of other tech companies, including Apple.
According to the report, published on Monday, Huawei frequently attempts to solicit information on Apple’s upcoming products from the iPhone maker’s Chinese-based suppliers. In one example, a Huawei engineer tasked with developing the company’s next smartwatch tracked down a supplier that manufacturers heart rate sensors for the Apple Watch. The engineer then arranged a meeting under the pretext of offering a lucrative manufacturing contract to the company.
In the meeting that followed, the engineer and four other Huawei employees spent an hour-and-a-half attempting to obtain as many details about the Apple Watch as possible, according to an executive from the supplier.
In another example, Huawei reportedly asked a variety of suppliers to manufacture a MacBook Pro component it had reverse-engineered for use in its MateBook Pro ultra-portable computer. Many of the companies Huawei approached recognized the part and refused to make it as a result.
In one last example of the company’s information gathering efforts, a former Apple employee quoted by the website says they did a job interview with Huawei executives in which the executives repeatedly asked about Apple’s upcoming products.
“It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were in hiring me,” the former employee told The Information.
Late last month, the U.S. Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Huawei and CFO Meng Wanzhou related to stealing of trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud and more.
Canadian authorities arrested Meng at the Vancouver International Airport on December 1st, 2018. She currently faces extradition to the U.S.
MobileSyrup has contacted Huawei Canada to ask for comment. We’ll update this article with a response.