China’s Baidu Library document-sharing website has reportedly posted confidential internal documents and materials of top Japanese companies for the past two years. The information uploaded comes from companies like Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Sony Corp.
The one who is investigating the issue, Shanghai-based lawyer Yusuke Wakebe, shared that some of the leaked materials include technical data about a patent application of a major manufacturer and an advertising firm’s proposal for a major campaign for a client. Documents from Toyota that were uploaded included an organization chart for their main headquarters and even the complaint-processing manual of their Chinese joint venture. There were also materials leaked from China-based affiliates of Sony and Hitachi as well as internal contracts by Canon Inc. The uploaded materials had “For Internal Use Only” or “Classified” stamped over them, so it is quite obvious that they were not meant for public consumption.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are currently investigating and gathering information about the leaks as they have already received complaints from the companies involved. The Japan External Trade Organization is also conducting a full-blown organization into the matter but has told Japanese companies doing business in China to be more careful in controlling their internal data. The investigation so far has shown that most of the leaked documents seem to have been uploaded by Chinese employees at the joint venture affiliates of the Japanese companies in order to gain points. The strategy at the Baidu Library website is that users receive points for uploading documents and they can use these points to download other documents in the site.
Wakebe said, “Once the internal data of a company is disclosed on the Internet, the business’ information management ability is questioned and its credibility will be hurt whatever the confidentiality level of the information.” Baidu still has not issued a statement regarding this matter.
[ via Kyodo News ]