China raids Capvision on spying concerns, after targeting Bain, Mintz

In recent years, the Chinese government has increased its efforts to crack down on alleged economic espionage and spying activities within its borders. One of the latest targets is Capvision, a market research firm, which was raided by Chinese authorities in May 2023 on suspicion of conducting espionage activities.

Capvision, which is headquartered in Beijing, has a global presence and is known for providing market research and analysis to multinational corporations, investors, and government agencies. According to reports, the company was raided by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau’s State Security Division, which is responsible for investigating espionage and other national security crimes.

The specific nature of the allegations against Capvision has not been disclosed, but it is believed that the company is being investigated for its work with foreign clients, particularly those from the United States. The incident comes on the heels of several other high-profile cases in which foreign firms have been accused of engaging in espionage or other illicit activities in China.

In recent years, Chinese authorities have ramped up efforts to combat foreign espionage, particularly as tensions with the United States have intensified. In 2022, for example, the Chinese government launched an investigation into Bain Capital and several other private equity firms over alleged economic espionage activities.

More recently, in April 2023, Chinese authorities arrested a senior executive from the American law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo on suspicion of “endangering national security.” The executive, who was based in the firm’s Beijing office, was later released on bail.

The crackdown on foreign firms has raised concerns among the business community, which fears that the Chinese government may be using allegations of espionage as a pretext for cracking down on foreign investment and intellectual property. Some analysts have also noted that the government’s efforts to target foreign firms may be driven in part by a desire to bolster China’s own domestic industry.

As for Capvision, the company has yet to comment on the raid or the allegations against it. It is unclear at this time what the fallout of the investigation will be for the firm, or for other foreign companies operating in China. However, the incident is likely to further escalate tensions between China and the United States, and could have wider implications for the global business community.

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