Nearly a third of American companies have responded to a lengthy survey saying that Chinese firms have stolen their intellectual property, highlighting both the severity of the problem and importance in keeping data secure from outside third-party actors.
Seven of the twenty-three companies included in the survey responded that Chinese firms had stolen their IP in the past ten years, according to the survey results published by CNBC Global CFO Council, .
Official statistics are almost impossible to gather, however, according to a spokesperson from the IP Commission, China is by far the world’s biggest violator of intellectual property, putting the cost of IP violations $600-billion cost to the U.S. economy alone.
However, in their own words, “the CNBC Global CFO Council represents some of the largest public and private companies in the world, collectively managing nearly $5-trillion in market value across a wide variety of sectors,” asserting that the data published is representative of an authority on the topic.
Robert Lighthizer, a U.S. trade representative told the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this week that “we can compete with anyone in the world, but we must have rule, enforced rules, that make sure market outcomes and not state capitalism and technology theft determine winners,” he said.
The Trump administration says it is cracking down on IP theft in its negotiations with China’s Xi Jinping, with a recent move from China making it appear as though the state was beginning a crackdown; whether or not it’s a gesture is yet to be seen.
Shortly after the recent G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, China went public with the revelation that it had punished a number of violators of intellectual property. Punishment for up to 38 violators of intellectual property theft included the rejection of those companies to access government funding, according to reports.
“The mere publication of the memo (which explicitly referred to American complaints) was an important concession: until quite recently, the Chinese government had officially denied that significant IP theft occurred in China,” Claude Barfield wrote.
However, according to the CNBC report, “the issues are complicated by, among other things, blurred lines between cyber espionage committed by the Chinese government against corporate and military targets and the passing of those secrets to Chinese companies.”