"It was very inconvenient having Chinese women hanging around outside our buildings and in nearby bars trying to ensnare our human resources", explained a spokesman for the company. Reports have even suggested that some of the women made it inside the company by getting jobs and posing as employees.
It is hoped that the new China-based intellectual property theft center, which is officially called the 'Hyundai Motor Research Institute for the China Management', will facilitate the leaking of the company's industrial secrets, but this time outside Korea. Previously, when industrial spies were caught within Korea, it has often involved long and expensive legal proceedings for the company and the government, which has also run the risk of causing a diplomatic incident. But this will not be a problem with the new research center in Beijing, since under Chinese law espionage is only illegal if conducted by foreigners, or Chinese citizens opposed to the Communist Party.
In a major case in 2007, nine former and incumbent employees of a local automaker - which can not be named for security reasons - were arrested for attempting to sell core car assembly technology to a Chinese company. Had the espionage succeeded, it was estimated that the loss would have been 4.7 trillion won in the Chinese market and 22.3 trillion won worldwide.
The China Motor Manufacturers' Association says it welcomes Hyundai's commitment to the Chinese market, and looks forward to working with the company's technology.
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