August 15, 2016

White Thief – It happened

OK I’m a documentary addict and ever since VICE started with these short and sweet documentaries called viceland I can’t stop watching. Last week I saw a cool one about China stealing trade secrets in the US and what was interesting was that, among other things, they were trying to steal the colour white.  Who would have thought…but the perfect white ain’t no accident.  The perfectly whitest white, Titanium White to be exact, is what they were after because it has been perfected by the DuPont company after sixty years of science and experimentation. Yep …It’s the white to beat and China wanted it bad.

white paint

My mind went straight to white paint, but China wanted the formula and the process that make everything white in the west. Everything from your tighty whities to the icing in your oreo and the Paint colour of the year, BM Simply White.  It all centered on this compound called Titanium Oxide and a really complicated process.

white - titanium-dioxide

I tried to read the techno mumbo jumbo but my mind wandered a little…

white donut

Yummy Photo via Food52

So, the short story is that the White Thief was a businessman who made a deal with the Chinese Government so that he could be the white maker back home and score some sweet manufacturing contracts in China if he delivered the goods. He spent several years stealing the formulas and processes used by DuPont. He was eventually tried and convicted of espionage and did you know that Chinese efforts to steal secrets from other western companies account for some 300 billion dollars in losses each year. Most don’t report them because it’s hard to try and convict those responsible and there is fear that stock prices and brand confidence could suffer if the espionage became public knowledge. Very interesting hey?

Stay curious friends…design is all around!

Great article on all this here called Stealing White

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August 15, 2016


Nicole Scott

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