Raising Red Flags: Korean Brain Efflux to China Reaches Serious Level | BusinessKorea

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Korean brain efflux leads Korean technology to be leaked through Korean workers who take new jobs in China
Korean brain efflux leads Korean technology to be leaked through Korean workers who take new jobs in China
Seoul, Korea
25 January 2018 - 10:30am
Michael Herh

There has been an outflow of human resources from Korean rear industries such as semiconductors, display materials, parts and equipment which are having trouble finding human resources. Just as talented people in the Korean shipbuilding industry flowed out to China so the Chinese shipbuilding industry was able to grow, talented workers in the Korean semiconductor and display industries are being absorbed into China. The brain drain leads Korean technology to be leaked through Korean workers who take new jobs in China, adding to the seriousness of the problem.

According to related industries on January 24, since the Chinese government’s declaration of promoting the Chinese semiconductor industry last year, talented people that had worked as CEOs and executives at Korea semiconductor and display companies have moved to China for higher salaries. Nowadays, a rumor is going around that Chinese companies offer salaries up to nine times Korean employees’ salaries in Korea.  

Industry sources said that Chinese companies were taking Korean workers to China, making them work appear as if they took jobs at investment companies and subsidiaries of their groups to elude a Korean regulation which prohibits Korean workers in some fields from taking jobs in the same types of jobs in foreign countries. However, the Korean government is unable to figure out how many Korean workers have transferred to China. Over the past year, China invested 75 trillion won in semiconductor plants and established a fund of 20 trillion won to foster its semiconductor industry.

Such display brain efflux to China is nothing new. BOE in China acquired Hydis, an independent LCD division separated from Hyundai Electronics in 2003. It is a well-known fact that after its Hydis acquisition, China BOE took away core technologies and talented workers only. At the moment, there are a lot of Korean employees in the Chinese display industry. It is said that there are about 150 Korean workers at China BOE and dozens of Korean workers at CSOT.

Lately, even Chinese employees entered Korean companies to steal technology from them. A Chinese worker was caught leaking a technology developed via a national project by a small Korean company which has OLED (organic light emitting diode) processing technology by using e-mail and removable storage devices (USB storages) before quitting the company. Another Chinese employee who had worked as a researcher at a display equipment maker was recently caught, handing Korean military technology over to China by Korean authorities.



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