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Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Accused of Illegally Hiring Taiwanese Engineers

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Tue, 03/09/2021 - 15:06
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Alex Dovbnya
Beijing-based Bitmain gets caught in the China-Taiwan crossfire
Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Accused of Illegally Hiring Taiwanese Engineers
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Chinese mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain is being investigated by Taiwanese authorities on suspicion of illegally hiring engineers from local firms, according to a report by Apple Daily.

Bitmain allegedly set up two separate units in Taiwan, Zhijiao and Xindao, to recruit top talent from big technology companies like MediaTek and ASE to develop artificial intelligence (AI) chips, thus undermining the country's competitive advantage.

Businesses from mainland China are prohibited by law to set up shop in Taiwan without registering with the government.

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Apart from the geopolitical battle between the two countries, Chinese semiconductor firm SMIC is the biggest rival of Taiwan's TSMC, the biggest semiconductor foundry in the world. Chinese companies actively try to lure Taiwanese engineers with higher salaries.

Semiconductor industry
Image by en.wikipedia.org

Both Bitmain and MediaTek are yet to comment on the matter. ASE claims that its engineers were not involved in the "poaching."

Branching out

After dabbling in AI back in 2018, Bitmain, together with other top Chinese ASIC manufacturers, started focusing on chipmaking last year to hedge against uncertainty in the Bitcoin mining industry while finding a new revenue stream.

Regulatory uncertainly remains a major risk factor for miners. For instance, China's Inner Mongolia region revealed its plan to shut down all existing mining farms earlier this March to meet its energy use target.

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About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets, can be contacted at alex.dovbnya@u.today.