Three HTC executives in the company’s design team, Thomas Chien, Wu Chien-Hung, and Justin Huang, have been arrested in Taipei because they are suspected of leaking company secrets.
Chien is HTC’s VP of product design, Chien-Huang is R&D director, and Huang is the company’s senior manager of design and innovation. In addition to leaking trade secrets, the three are also accused of swindling about $334,000 dollars from the company via false commission fees. HTC accused the three of the leaks last month, and has not commented on the detention. The men are said to have planned to use HTC know-how to set up a new mobile design company in China.
HTC has been struggling to remain relevant in the increasingly tough smartphone market, having lost a great deal of its dominance and influence over the last several years as Samsung’s influence has swept the Android smartphone sector. The company’s recent HTC One phone, however, has been broadly approved, and has earned media praise–it may be a good contender for the top end of the smartphone market where Samsung and Apple currently lead. China’s growing influence in smartphone design may have played a big part in the alleged HTC plot, and commenters have recently noticed the dramatic rise of local vendor Xiaomi–a company that has seemingly embraced high design principles–onto the global smartphone market.