- Weibao Wang, former Apple employee, is under the U.S. government's scrutiny for allegedly stealing trade secrets from Apple's autonomous car division.
- Wang's career trajectory post-Apple points to potential links with Chinese companies, stirring concerns over Beijing's tactics to acquire proprietary information from American corporations.
- This case is part of a broader U.S. government effort to combat illicit acquisition of sensitive U.S. technology by 'hostile nation-states'.
Picture this: It's an ordinary Tuesday, and the U.S. government is pointing the finger at Weibao Wang, a former Apple whiz-kid, accusing him of swiping top-secret intel from the company's covert self-driving car project. They're talking the whole kit and caboodle of Apple's 'autonomous' source code.
While the U.S. government's been a bit tight-lipped about who Wang's current employer is, some diligent detective work by Reuters and other inquisitive sorts has revealed that Wang is holding down a high-ranking role at Jidu. And who's Jidu, you ask? Oh, just an electric vehicle joint venture between Chinese internet titan Baidu and the car manufacturer Geely. No biggie.
The powers that be in the U.S. are getting their feathers ruffled over fears that Beijing might be playing a little dirty to get their hands on the golden eggs of American companies - trade secrets. This Wang-Apple episode is just a scene in the drama directed by the Department of Justice's task force, whose mission is to thwart the attempts of any 'hostile nation-states' getting their mitts on sensitive U.S. tech.
Now, the plot thickens. The Feds are claiming that Wang got a little too chummy with a Chinese automaker's U.S. subsidiary a few months before he bid adieu to Apple in 2018. They're also pointing fingers at Wang for allegedly pilfering key info related to Apple's autonomous systems development, presumably to gift to a mystery Chinese company.
After Wang hopped off the Apple wagon, he was spotted in a health care AI firm called Singularity.AI, which had roots in both California and China. Post that, he donned the CTO hat at Neolix, a Chinese autonomous car company, before finally landing at Jidu to spearhead their intelligent-driving initiative. Wang's rollercoaster ride took a hard turn when his apartment was searched by law enforcement officials in 2018, suspecting him of stealing Apple's internal documents. The charges imply that Wang might be in hot water if he tries to set foot on U.S. soil again.
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