Law enforcement officers in China have taken six former employees of Huawei Technologies Co's consumer business group into custody as part of an investigation into an alleged violation of intellectual property rights (IPR), media reports said Wednesday.
News begun circulating on Wednesday morning that some former Huawei employees had taken internal material to join LeEco and phonemaker Coolpad, financial news website caixin.com reported on Wednesday.
Huawei confirmed the news, saying that the six people had actually worked in the company's research and development division and were not managers, as some rumors claimed, Caixin reported.
Huawei declined to comment on the matter when reached by the Global Times on Wednesday.
LeEco, the largest shareholder of Coolpad, said in a statement sent to the Global Times late Wednesday that it had no connection with the matter and it always attaches great importance to IPR protection.
Among the allegedly stolen materials was the design of Huawei's smart watch, Caixin reported, citing insiders.
Huawei shipped 139 million smartphones in 2016, up 29 percent from 2015, according to media reports in January that cited company estimates.
The revenue of its consumer business group jumped 42 percent to 178 billion yuan ( billion) in 2016.
In 2015, Huawei became the first Chinese handset vendor to ship more than 100 million smartphones in a single year.