South Korean prosecutors indicted a group of 11 executives and employees of Korea-based Toptec, a Samsung Electronics supplier, accusing them with leaking Samsung's flexible OLED technology to Chinese display makers. The group includes Toptec's president and managing director.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Toptec's executives supplied the stolen information to four companies in China - including BOE and CSoT. The cost of the information was 15.5 billion Won - or almost $14 million USD. Toptec produces display production automated equipment.
This is the latest in a long series of Korean OLED technology leaks to China. In June 2018 the South Korean prosecution indicted several officials that allegedly tried to sell Samsung's OLED technology secrets to China. These officials include Korean and Chinese researchers - and also a professor at a national Korean research institution. In October 2018, it was reported that critical information regarding OLED technologies and plans has been leaked from LG Display's headquarters - and that the company suspects espionage from Chinese-based companies.
In May 2012 employees at Israeli company Orbotech's local Korean branch were accused of leaking OLED technology form both LGD and SDC to several Chinese and Taiwanese companies. But it's not just Chinese companies that try to access protected OLED technology - in 2012 LGD was charged with stealing OLED secrets from Samsung Display as well.
In 2012 it was also reported that former AUO employees sold AMOLED technology secrets to China's CSoT.
OLED information is also finding its way from Korea to China in other ways. Chinese display makers are hiring employees from LGD and Samsung Display - offering high salaries as displays makers in China hurry to compete with the leading Korean OLED makers.