Chinese National Stole Ford Secrets Worth More Than $50 Million

A ten year veteran of the U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company pleaded guilty in federal court on November 17 to charges that he stole company secrets, including design documents, worth more than $50 million and sharing them with his new employer: the Chinese division of a U.S. rival of Ford’s. 

A ten year veteran of the U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company pleaded guilty in federal court on November 17 to charges that he stole company secrets, including design documents, worth more than $50 million and sharing them with his new employer: the Chinese division of a U.S. rival of Ford’s. 

Xiang Dong (“Mike”) Yu admitted to copying some 4,000 Ford Documents to a external hard drive, including system design specifications for Ford’s cars after surreptitiously taking a job with a competitor in 2006.

Under the plea agreement, announced last week, Yu faces a sentence ranging from five to six years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 for a theft of trade secrets valued at between $50 million and $100 million, according to a statement by Barbara L. McQuade, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

According to the Plea Agreement, Yu obtained documents containing prized Ford design documents, including those for components such as an  Engine/Transmission Mounting Subsystem, Electrical Distribution system, Electric Power Supply, Electrical Subsystem and Generic Body Module. Yu was a Product Engineer at Ford, where he had worked since 1997, but the documents taken had no connection to his work at Ford. 

Yu did not inform Ford of his decision to take a position with a competitor prior to leaving the country with the documents on December 20, 2006, He later e-mailed his supervisor at Ford from China to inform him that he was leaving the company. Yu later accepted a job with a Chinese based competitor of Ford’s, Beijing Automotive Company, of Shenzhen, China, in November, 2008.

He was taken into custody by the FBI in October, 2009, after stopping over in Chicago on a return trip to China. An analysis of the laptop computer Yu carried at the time included copies of 41 Ford system design specification documents.

Theft of industrial trade secrets is a growing problem, as technology and the Internet make wholesale theft of data practical, and as developing nations enlist insiders to help them bridge military and competitive gaps with more advanced nations and firms from the West. In October, agents arrested and raided the home of a Raytheon employee and expert on warhead design. The past two years have also brought several high-profile stories about targeted attacks aimed at prominent firms in technology and energy.  

In security circles, experts have taken to referring to such sophisticated foes as “advanced persistent threats,” a term that euphemistically refers to nation-state spying by the likes of China, Russia and other nations, or companies backed by foreign regimes. 

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  • Anonymous on

    This SOB should be hung for espionage.  How long are we going to wait until we acknowledge that we are selling our souls to the Chinese?  They steal from us, poison us, use their currency against us and yet we happily mortgage our jobs to them, turning a blind eye ot their shenanigans.


    Deport every single one of these cretins.  Get them out of our companies and our universities.  Hire actual AMERICANS to take their place.

  • Anonymous on


  • Anonymous on

    Racial prejudice is not the answer to this, but neither is the freetard anarchy of unlimited & unregulated global free-trade, built only to service the US ownership class at the expense of all else. The reason China are who they are today is because the US ownership class financed their entire industrial revolution. Why? - simply because their currency is worth roughly 8x less than the dollar. The standard is to pay a Chinese worker around 30-50 cents an hour. China has kept their currency at that level to keep the influx of jobs and building of industries coming, and are already copying the concept and cutting out the US owner as they do so. Make no mistake who in this Country screwed us.

    You have several choices in the face of this ugly reality:

    1. Impose tariffs to bring their product prices up to yours, to level out currency value differences, so American workers can compete fairly.

    2. Create new fair-trade laws vs. free trade, regulating the global financial market properly so such abuses cease. 

    3. Watch your nation brought down. China & India are now putting many tens of thousands of people through engineering in colleges (which are mostly socialized there), as those are the next jobs in line to go (and once they are gone, they are gone forever). When someone is willing to do science & engineering for $10,000/yr salary vs. our $55,000, you can guess exactly what the owner of that company will do....go with the cheaper labor. And what exactly do you think our nation is going to be worth when engineering & science is gone? Good night America, nice knowin' ya, enjoy your McDonalds jobs suckers.

  • Anonymous on

    Wow, just wow.

    Imagine the death machines that'll come out of China now? Stealing out dated car ideas combined with the cheap and shotty products that they'll crap out is absoluetly frightening.

  • Anonymous on

    This is why we need to keep foreigners out of OUR job market, chinese, mexicans, indians, etc...  They are not loyal to this country or its economy. If they weren't born here they shouldn't work here period.

  • Anonymous on

    At the above poster: I disagree. That's incredibly racist of you to say that. There are plenty of foreigners who are loyal to America. You would have them fight our wars but not work here? Anyways, Xiang Dong Yu is an idiot. If he was smart, he wouldn't bring anything to America with him that was used to copy private documents. And, if he did bring anything with him, it should have been properly shredded. There are free tools that can be found online to shred these kinds of things. Hell, if I was him, I wouldn't even go back to America, as I wouldn't want to risk being caught.

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