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Understanding Economic Espionage: The Past

MIN READFeb 12, 2021 | 10:00 GMT

British fine china company Wedgwood on Oct. 14, 2020, in Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire, England. Founder Josiah Wedgwood incorporated some details of Chinese porcelain assembly lines into his own production process.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

For most of the previous two millennia, China was the international commercial center of the world. Products such as silk, porcelain and tea were rare and expensive in previous eras. The only way to get them was through trade with China. Commercial scheming by foreign powers to share in the profits generated by these products motivated trade secret theft that undermined China's monopoly on those products....

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