Samsung’s flexible display tech leaked to China, South Korean authorities suspect

Samsung’s flexible display tech leaked to China, South Korean authorities suspect
One of next year’s most heated battles in the mobile world will be the one between the different foldable smartphones. As manufacturers are preparing their contenders for release, one thing is certain: what will make or break each of those devices will be the flexible OLED display on them. A few major display makers are hard at work to develop solutions that will satisfy the owners of those super-premium phones.

It turns out that some might have been hard at work doing something else, however, as Reuters reports that prosecutors in South Korea have charged nine people for illegally trading documents describing technology developed by Samsung.

The suspected wrongdoers are the chief executive and eight employees of Toptec Co Ltd, a company that provides manufacturing equipment for mobile phone displays, including Samsung’s. The allegations state that the employees created a shell company and used it to sell information about what equipment was used in Samsung’s factories and drawings of flexible OLED panels. The bundle of juicy insider info was sold to an undisclosed entity in China for the hefty $13.85 million.

Toptec released a statement saying: “Our company has never provided Samsung Display’s industrial technology or business secrets to a Chinese client. Our company will fully cooperate with legal proceedings to find the truth in court”. Is that the truth, only the investigators can say, but the damage is done, at least as far as Toptec is concerned, its shares already down 20%.

The foldable phone race is about to start early next year, with Samsung and Huawei aiming to be the major players. Obviously, Samsung is making its own displays, but Huawei is sourcing them from another Chinese manufacturer, BOE. Is that were Samsung’s secrets went? Hopefully, the prosecutors will find out who the recipient was, but either way, if the deal did happen, someone got quite a boost in its R&D if they got information worth $13 million.

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33 Comments

1. Donone41

Posts: 246; Member since: Dec 17, 2014

This is why garbage companies like Huawei can do things so fast and claim first. Only nothing but crooks and spy comes out of China. They're not innovators, just a bunch of thieving copiers.

5. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 896; Member since: May 07, 2014

You need to put some cool ice on your bum bro..

7. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

No he doesnt, did you realize china steals billions of dollars in intellectual property from united states companies? The giant windmill software was stolen from an american company, look that up. The chineese laws are designed to allow chineese companies to get away with this

17. mixedfish

Posts: 1540; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

LMAO more hate crap just because you hear Uncle Sam blow his dog whistle with the word China. Do not forget that NASA was born on stealing German V2 rockets. Rather than labelling this as some nationalistic competition as TV might teach you. How about considering that individual agents have profited off this espionage, rather overlord

21. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

Actually it was a 60 minute story from before Trump was president, they are pretty reputable to the libs, so i dont see why the opinion would change now. Your final words in your comment agree that it is happening, so you contradict yourself. Look up the story about the windmill software.

22. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

And it might be private people in china benefiting but the laws made by the government make it almost impossible to stop the theft.

23. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

I believe you are showing that you are just following what you hear on t.v. without putting any of your own thought into it something something dog whistle?

26. mahalo15

Posts: 54; Member since: Nov 30, 2018

You are wrong. Chineese laws are not designed to allow chineese companies to get away with this. They are actually encouraged by the govt to indulge in these activities. Infact, many state owned companies are involved in intellectual property theft.

31. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

You are wrong, when a non chineese company brings a complaint to chineese authority it is almost always denied.

33. mahalo15

Posts: 54; Member since: Nov 30, 2018

Did you even read my full comment before replying? We are on same page here.

14. AbhiD

Posts: 498; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Exactly! I have been saying this for long. Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE have no ethics, they have dubious past, are funded by communist chinese government, and are a security threat to everyone across the World! It's for no reason that from USA to India to Australia to New Zealand and even Japan are now trying to block/have blocked their carriers from using Huawei equipments. Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba etc are basically Chinese deep state. Don't forget that news has just come out Alibaba founder Jack Ma was a Communist party member all this while.

18. mixedfish

Posts: 1540; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Yeah especially Canada still allows Huawei hardware....whoops is that a contradiction in your argument, sorry.

24. warrenellis93

Posts: 521; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

R u working for the chineese.gov

28. mahalo15

Posts: 54; Member since: Nov 30, 2018

He is probably from "50 cent party". Look it up, its real thing.

2. scarface21173

Posts: 575; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

The whole world has been doing this sort of thing forever, money talks.

3. gamehead unregistered

I mean. You could manufacture your phones in your own country to kinda avoid this kinda thing

4. Subie

Posts: 2222; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Toptec Co Ltd doesn't manufacture Samsung's phones. And even if you did absolutely everything in house and in country - industrial espionage would still exist...

6. rouyal

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Ahhh. Well there goes Samsung’s chance at being the sole proprietor of tech that NO ONE wants. Flexible oled reaks of desperation.

8. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 315; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Tech which Apple, LG, hauwei and other Chinese OEMs have also invested in and are planning on launching their own foldable phones in 2019. Wether we like it or not, foldable smartphones are coming, time will tell. It wasn't long ago when mod phones were the next big thing. Look how that turned out.

9. rouyal

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

It may, may, be a hit where people want a tablet that turns into a phone. I think that market is very small and niche tbh.

32. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 315; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

It all comes down to pricing aswell, will see. I'll stick to my bezelless remote control thanks :-P

10. Tipus

Posts: 750; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

"Flexible oled reaks of desperation." Untill apple implements it. Then it will be "groundbreaking innovation" :)))

11. rouyal

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I don’t think they will unless there becomes an elegant way to implement it. Right now, it’s not truly a foldable phone, but more of a bendable tablet, that seems more of a demo product. If/when Apple uses it, I’d think it will be “ready”.

12. Tipus

Posts: 750; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

I thought so :)))

13. DRS1977

Posts: 678; Member since: May 27, 2015

What exactly is a "truly foldable phone?"

15. Tipus

Posts: 750; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

When it's implemented in "elegant way" :)))

16. sissy246

Posts: 6826; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMAO. I guess he has a inside person telling him what this phone will be like.

30. sissy246

Posts: 6826; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMAO dude get you head out of timmy boy behing.

29. sissy246

Posts: 6826; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Tell apple does it, right. Then you will be saying how innovative it is.

19. Farcaster

Posts: 136; Member since: Apr 16, 2018

Just a bunch of cheats. What happened to basic company ethics/morals?

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