Bloomberg: Former ASML employee and research on linking the Chinese state
Investigators are looking into possible links between the former ASML employee who misused the information and the Chinese government. This was reported by Bloomberg news agency based on insiders. Chip machine maker ASML recently announced that an employee in China had seized data on Veldhoven’s technology.
According to two Bloomberg sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is confidential, investigators believe the former employee has ties to a Chinese state-backed organization. The same system would previously be associated with intellectual property theft. It is not clear which group this refers to.
Among other things, US government officials will investigate the data breach. ASML has responded that it is conducting its own investigation and will not elaborate at this time.
More than 90 percent of all chip machines in the world that work with lithography are ASML, in which light beams place very fine-meshed patterns on chips. This makes the company a key player in the global production of advanced semiconductors, which are used in more and more devices.
For example, ASML is the only company in the world that makes state-of-the-art machines for manufacturing chips, called EUV machines. The Dutch company has not been allowed to export these to China for some time. The United States, the Netherlands and Japan have agreed that some second-to-last generation machines, DUV devices, will no longer be sold to Chinese companies.
The US has been increasing pressure since last year to limit exports of high-end chip technology to China. The Americans say this is to prevent China from developing more advanced weapons.
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