Former ASML employee in China accused of stealing secret information
The US veto of China is having consequences, and the last one is linked to ASML confidential information theft. For context, ASML is a company based in the Netherlands that is behind all the necessary equipment. for wafer printing. With the US veto, it “recommended” to ASML, and to the rest of the companies in the industry, to product shipments will cease to the country and cancel all shipments still unprocessed.
Because of this, China does not have access to the necessary machinery to drive its local chip production forward. That is why a new front was opened, the need to manufacture their own lithographic machines to bring your own chip designs to life. With ASML being the world leader in this business (its machinery is used by TSMC or Intel), it is clear that there is great interest about the confidential information of this company.
Former Employee Accused of Stealing ASML Information for Chinese Industry
As revealed by Bloomber, ASML has started a exhaustive investigation at the company’s branch in China as a result of the latest information. In these, it is indicated that one of his former employees would have stolen confidential information. The employee in question was part of a product lifecycle management (PLM) program for advanced lithography solutions of ASML. Specifically, the employee worked for the Teamcenter software division, responsible for management of lithographic tools.
This software is used to create digital twins of scanners and other tools and allowed information to be shared among company employees. In the case of ASML, the software contained all the confidential information about scanners and how they work, which makes it a priority target when it comes to stealing Intellectual Property (IP). Of course, there is no evidence, but it is suspected that it is an action sponsored by China to boost its national development of lithographic tools.
“We have suffered an unauthorized misappropriation of data relating to proprietary technology by a (now) former employee in China. We immediately initiated a thorough internal review,” the company said in an official statement.
“Based on our initial findings, we do not believe that the misappropriation is material to our business. However, as a result of the security incident, certain export control regulations may have been violated. Therefore, ASML has reported the incident to the relevant authorities. We are applying additional corrective measures in light of this incident.”
Will China now make a major leap in wafer manufacturing?
Now, the most interesting thing of all would be to know if the information stolen from the ASML software can be used by china. Whether it’s to speed up manufacturing your own advanced deep ultraviolet (DUV) or extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithographic scanners. In addition, it is unknown if the former employee provided the data he obtained to entities controlled by the Chinese government. Otherwise, the second option is not a good one either. In essence, direct to manufacturers of lithographic equipment based in China.
On the other hand, the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA) complained earlier this week due to new export controls and restrictions against the country’s chip industry.
“If the measure comes true, it will cause serious damage to the semiconductor industry in China. This will have detriment to the world economy. As well as long-term damage to the interests of consumers around the world,” he said in a statement. official.