Sany's main production facility, in Changsha. (File photo/Xinhua)
Sany Group, China's leading manufacturer of engineering machinery, plans to move its headquarters from Changsha in Hunan province to Beijing, reportedly for the sake of escaping unfair competition.
A company executive has confirmed that the move is a response to a recent "espionage" incident at Sany Heavy Industry, the group's flagship firm. A recent online article accused of stealing commercial secrets from its archrival, Zoomlion Heavy Industry.
The article charged that Sany set up a consulting firm to steal the business secrets of 34 of its rivals, including Zoomlion. In addition, the piece claims, Sany hired hackers to attack Zoomlion's back office automation system. Moreover, Sany is alleged to have hired university graduates to join Zoomlion to steal that company's confidential commercial information, the article claimed.
Launching an investigation into the allegations, the Hanshou county police bureau in Hunan detained two Sany executives for questioning before the men were released on bail. Critics say the Hanshou police bureau illegally investigated the case, since both Sany and Zoomlion are based in Changsha and thus fall under a different jurisdiction.
A Sany executive notes that the incidents occurred during the Communist Party's 18th National Congress, when both municipal government leaders and Liang Wengen, Sany's chairman, were in Beijing. He says Zoomlion reported the case to the Hanshou police bureau as a top Zoomlion manager hails from Hanshou and thus could use his connections to call in a favor.
"Sany is an indigenous Hunan enterprise, which greatly appreciates the support of the Hunan provincial and Changsha city governments over the past years. Recently, our rival has tried to spoil the relationship between Sany and the government, claiming that Sany complains the government favors local enterprises. This is absolutely not true," the executive said.