Former Apple Employee Xiaolang Zhang Sentenced to 4 Months in Prison for Trade Secrets Theft

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In a landmark decision, the California district court has concluded the case of Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple employee accused of stealing trade secrets related to Project Titan, Apple’s future smart electric vehicle. The legal battle, initiated in 2018 through collaboration between the FBI and Apple, has resulted in Zhang receiving a 4-month prison sentence, 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of $146,984.


The FBI and Apple began investigating Zhang’s actions in 2018, uncovering his alleged theft of sensitive trade secrets associated with Project Titan. This initiative is Apple’s codename for its upcoming smart electric vehicle, a groundbreaking venture for the tech giant.

Zhang’s Evasion and Subsequent Actions

After leaving Apple, Zhang returned to China and joined XMotors, a Chinese startup focusing on autonomous car technologies. Apple, noticing Zhang’s suspicious behavior, took legal action against their former employee.

Evidence and Guilty Plea

Evidence presented during the trial pointed to Zhang’s malicious activities through his network usage and Apple devices while working on Project Titan. Zhang, having worked as an engineer on various aspects of the project, ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him.

Legal Consequences

The California district court’s ruling mandates a 4-month prison term, 3 years of supervised release, and a financial penalty of $146,984 for Xiaolang Zhang. The decision emphasizes the severity of intellectual property theft and serves as a warning to those contemplating similar actions.

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