The West Begins to Address Chinese Industrial Espionage

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The West Begins to Address Chinese Industrial Espionage

Reading about spies can be intriguing, whether they are in novels or real life.  There's a certain romance about the cloak-and-dagger world they inhabit — unless your company becomes the victim of industrial espionage.

Industrial espionage is certainly nothing new.  Just the names change.  Today, China is the leading player in the spy game.

Why China?  Why now?  The tremendous potential of the global market is not lost on companies in China, and many are looking for a shortcut to global political and economic power and influence.  Therefore, many Chinese state-run companies are turning to espionage in order to improve their own products, both for the success of their companies and in the national interest of China.

Their main target is no secret.  A report issued in 2008, by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and National Counterintelligence, offers insight.1 "The fact of the matter is that the United States, with about three percent of the world's population, spends 25 percent of all the world's research and development dollars, so we are the number one target in the world."

Our military hardware in particular is desired by China's expanding military, which sees the U.S. as a potential adversary.

But it's not just military technology that China has targeted.  It has also been systematically stealing Western scientific and industrial secrets.  Targets of attack include high-tech firms and companies in the manufacturing and service industries that make proprietary products and use unique processes that give them a competitive advantage.

Of course, the U.S. is not alone.  China is also engaged in a vast, well-coordinated, and resourceful espionage campaign against European governments and companies.

China's approach to intelligence is based on a wholly different paradigm than that of the West, which could be making detection more difficult.  The approach can best be described as "mosaic."

The Chinese recruit as many low-level operatives as possible and task them with vacuuming up all available open-source information.  These innumerable bits of intelligence are then compiled and analyzed to assemble a complete picture.  This method fits well with Chinese demographics, which are characterized by countless thousands of capable and industrious people working overseas, as well as thousands more analyzing various pieces of the mosaic back home.

Many believe that these people working overseas include members of the military, intelligence services, and trade missions abroad, as well as Chinese-born citizens who are sent to form espionage sleeper cells, and students sent to foreign universities...

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