Huawei uses “dubious” tactics to try to reverse engineer technology from Apple and other competitors in the electronics market, a report charged on Monday.
In November, for example, a Huawei engineer heading up smartwatch development tracked down a supplier that helps build the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor, The Information said.
The person arranged a meeting with the claim he could offer a manufacturing contract, but instead probed for details about the Apple Watch, an anonymous executive at the supplier said.
The engineer was accompanied by four researchers, and together the group is said to have spent an hour and a half asking about the Watch. With nothing given Huawei went silent.
Huawei has reportedly used similar tactics against companies like Cisco, Motorola, and Akhan Semiconductor. The U.S. Justice Department, in fact, claims that Huawei has a program that rewards employees for stealing data, with better bonuses based on how confidential information is.
The Information says there is also suspicion that Huawei copied the 2016 MacBook Pro’s thinner hinge design. Huawei employees met with Apple suppliers and presented a schematic.
Huawei reportedly approached numerous suppliers and provided them with schematics just like Apple’s, but most recognized the part and refused to make it for Huawei.
The company told The Information that it requires suppliers to uphold a high standard of ethics and that it doesn’t seek or have access to its competitor’s confidential information. Eventually, Huawei found a willing supplier and the connector was built into the MateBook Pro.
The Information’s report includes numerous other examples of Huawei’s attempts at stealing information from Apple.
One former Apple employee interviewed for a job at Huawei immediately after leaving Apple, and in the interview, Huawei executives repeatedly asked questions about Apple’s upcoming products.
“It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were in hiring me,” the former employee said.