Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

worked for a main competitor of Huawei building UMTS/LTE base stations which at the time weren't even properly standardized (early systems design). Searched for my own name on github. Found source code I wrote for said vendor which was taken from somebody who worked for our Hangzhou office and had access to the same internal VCS[1] as me. The guy downloaded anything he had access to then moved to Huawei and from there to another Chinese state owned company. He uploaded everything to his own github account (under his real name). Not even an isolated case. They don't even have to plant a mole in your org in the West they can simply just coerce Chinese based employees to extract interesting IP from your sites in China. These guys just don't give a f*ck! (also Nokia, Ericsson management were never held accountable for enabling this by opening up sites in China without thinking this won't bite them. they all did it because of promise of cheap manufacture and they all got rolled. thousands of jobs lost in Europe and the US as a consequence so it's not just the Chinese who are to blame here)

note: I was involved in early tech standardization on 3GPP for many years. yes Huawei contributes a lot. That doesn't mean they also don't steal your shit. They do it because there literally is no way to hold them accountable. You just got to make sure you don't travel to a country that may extradite you to the US. And by the way they are _not_ the leader in 5G. This is constantly parroted propaganda. You can get the same "mature" Tech for 5G from Ericsson, Nokia ... yes Huawei might have more patents but you can only sell what the standard supports in terms of interoperability, and so the constant claim that the only 5G player is Huawei is plain wrong.

[1] obviously we didn't use github to manage our source code.




I don't know anything about telecoms, but I work in a different area of software development in China and can confirm it is not uncommon for developers here to bring their whole previous employer's repo with them when they switch jobs. One of my most cringeworthy moments was when I saw the same XyzUtil class pop up in two different companies, and both had been sourced from the same (not open source) third company repo, with the same bug that I ended up fixing twice.

I suspect this happens in other countries too, but I think elsewhere people make an effort to be less obvious about it. I get the impression copy paste programming isn't as looked down upon here as it is in the west.


Pretty sure it happened in Europe and UK in early '00s too, from my limited experience. Sure, not in an obvious way, but it happened - mostly kept as a reference to go back when you're sure you've already seen/solved this or that problem before.

I mean, in Europe salespeople routinely take customer contact-lists with them whenever they move, everybody knows it. Developers do the equivalent stuff in their field. Asians are just a bit more blunt about it, because they have less to lose. Plenty of Europeans did the same sort of thing when moving to the US in 18th/19th century - I call it "hungry makes right".


Asians don’t do it more bluntly. Chinese do. Sorry if I sound pedantic, but this is just insulting.


I'd be shocked to see this (employees taking employers' proprietary source code) happen in the U.S., or in Canada, or in Europe, or in Japan, or in South Korea, or in most of LatAm. I've no idea about Africa, India, and elsewhere, though I expect this doesn't happen in India either (possibly due to British influence).


In the US it can land you in jail. See the case of Anthony Levandowski who took Waymo's self driving code over to Uber.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/19/21187651/anthony-levandow...


This is classic disruptive innovation at nation state scale.

Imaginary property only worked when all jurisdictions agreed to follow the same rules, and could enforce these rules onto individual actors. Obviously China isn't playing by these rules and has no desire to play by these rules, regardless of any lip service paid. So we can either adjust our own philosophies to better match how the real world operates. Or we can continue trying to force our rules on everyone else, which will end catastrophically when reality finally does catch up.


There's always been a lot of inside baseball with regards to international trade "rules."

Countries always act in what they perceive to be their best interests.

Ergo, there will always be tension over rules that further those interests and rules that act counter to them.

Pharma patents have historically been a major example. Disempowering smaller countries in their negotiations with pharmaceutical companies (via mandatory IP enforcement) tilts the playing field in favor of corporations headquartered in first world countries.

So, even in the most lawful of times (2000s?), it's a constantly shifting landscape.

While China may have ignored more rules than most, the existing rules certainly didn't favor them, and they believed they had the power to ignore them.

We'll see where that ends up.


maybe in hindsight it's always easy to spot the problem. but the tragedy here is that we're feeling the effects of lost opportunities and mistakes that were made already 15-20 years ago. We had a window of opportunity when China was still coming up to give them a carrot/stick treatment and force them to either reform in exchange for export opportunities or remain isolated. The same mistakes were made with Russia (that window closed around 2002-2004). The US has been just one foreign policy blunder after another unfortunately.


China has changed enormously in the last 15-20 years, especially in intellectual property enforcement. China is one of the most active venues in the world for IP enforcement now. They've created an IP regime out of nothing, established specialized courts that deal only with IP, and now try hundreds of thousands of cases a year.

Yet all of this seems completely unknown in the West, outside of the legal/business community that actually engages with the Chinese IP system. The same comments about there being no IP enforcement in China are made over and over again, completely disregarding the massive changes that have occurred.


Does it mean there’s nothing one can do?


> "And by the way they are _not_ the leader in 5G."

You can argue that Ericsson and Nokia are equals to Huawei in 5G technology. But Huawei are by far the leaders in 5G equipment sales.


Yeah because they sell cheap. Yeah because they didnt incur the cost of IP, it’s on the backs of others whose work was stolen.

This is the problem with China, they unashamedly want to eat the hand that feeds them. Even in China there’s a saying, somethink like “Don’t wake up the sleepy giant” in reference to the US’ lax policy in dealing with this. They, the Chinese themselves, think that the US is dumb for letting them get away with so much.


> they didnt incur the cost of IP

In 2019, Huawei had the 5th largest R&D budget of any company in the world. Its R&D budget was larger than that of Apple.[1]

> They, the Chinese themselves, think that the US is dumb for letting them get away with so much.

What are you basing this on? It might surprise you to know that China has established dozens of specialized IP courts since 2014, which now handle hundreds of thousands of cases per year. What you're saying sounds like pure prejudice, born out of a lack of knowledge.

1. https://www.caixinglobal.com/2019-01-11/chart-of-the-day-hua...


Man, I get your point, they did/are doing tons of bad stuff. But so is every-fucking-body else, everywhere. Industrial espionage is a thing for more than a century, everybody tries to steal whatever they can, even US from Europe and vice versa. US secret services help their own private companies get an edge (for some other favors obviously), and so do other secret services.

Friendships among nations is a very relative term.

What you describe is just less attempts by chinese to cover up their tracks, since it doesn't matter that much now.


So in that case, then it's surely fine to just block Huawei. It's just a continuation of the same shenanigans that "everybody is doing".

Right?

I think there are certain lines that aren't supposed to be crossed. You'll notice in the U.S. that Uber and Levandowski were sued by Waymo. Why? Because they stole source code. If "everybody is doing it" surely Waymo would just chalk it up to business as usual right?

I guess you could say, well in the U.S. we enforce certain standards blah blah... exactly. There are certain standards. You can play dirty within certain limits. The U.S. doesn't have a national policy of having companies steal stuff from trading partners. If I, as a U.S. citizen, started hacking into Chinese companies and stealing their source code, set up an operation to call and scam old Chinese ladies out of their life savings, or any of that I'd be in serious shit. In China it's business as usual because the CCP has an unofficial policy of "steal as much as possible and fuck em".

I really don't like when people try and normalize CCP actions or equate their actions with the U.S. or Europe for that matter. It's nonsense and self-hating.


Don't worry, in a few years China will be producing so much of its own IP it will start hypocritically crying about other countries stealing from it and being unfair and protectionist, and that will be a copy of the US too.


CCP rewards citizens who steal and bring home. They’re touted as some kind of patriots.


> If I, as a U.S. citizen, started hacking into Chinese companies and stealing their source code, set up an operation to call and scam old Chinese ladies out of their life savings, or any of that I'd be in serious shit.

It really depends on how much valuable stuff you got




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

Search: