U.S. Election Company Connected To Chinese Companies, Coders, and Patents
A deep dive into a Michigan election company's patents, employees, domain registrations, and internet archives reveals an alarming Chinese connection.
Konnech Inc., a U.S. software company based out of East Lansing, Michigan, helps manage the poll workers, poll locations, campaigns, assets, mail-in ballots, and supplies necessary to run elections in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Although, the American technology company, which was founded in 2002, is used by the U.S. Department of Defense and 'thousands of election offices across North America', Konnech Inc., previously built a ‘communication platform’ called ChineseBrief.com for the Confucius Institute.
Furthermore, many of the company’s software engineers and employees graduated from Chinese universities such as Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, University of Science and Technology of China, Beijing Language and Culture University, China Agricultural University, and HuaZhong University of Science and Technology.
For instance, Eugene Yu, the CEO of Konnech Inc., graduated from Zhejiang University in Zhejiang, China, with a bachelors degree in 1982 before receiving his MBA from Wake Forest University in 1988.
Moreover, in Queensland, Australia’s 2020 elections, “count reporting problems on election night” were partly the result of “a new computer system not being tested as planned because ‘coding resources’ were locked down in Wuhan”, according to the digital news company InQueensland.
In fact, these Wuhan coding resources led to four members of the Queensland Parliament — MP Crandon, MP Lister, MP Simpson, and MP Robinson — asking the Queensland Premier on July 15, 2020, why Konnech was given the contract to produce the software administering Queensland’s elections using “China based coders”?
MP Robinson asked, “Can the Premier guarantee that Konnech, Inc. does not have a connection to the Chinese Communist Party through its China based subsidiary Jinhua Konnech Inc.?”
Jinhua Konnech Inc.
Consider that a patent application was filed in China for a system of “network voting of absent electorates” by Jinhua Konnech Inc. on February 4, 2015, for an inventor named Shao Guojun (邵国君).
The rights of that patent were then transferred on October 7, 2015, from Jinhua Konnech Inc. to Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co., Ltd. (金华鸿正科技有限公司), a Chinese election technology company, which was also founded in 2015.
Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co.
Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co., which has more than 200 employees, is a hardware and software provider for China’s National People's Congress (NPC).
Hongzheng Technology builds technology including mobile applications for more than 430 NPC clients in more than 20 provinces across China.
Hongzheng Tech. is also partnered with Lenovo, Huawei, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile and has branch offices in Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Wuhan among other places, according to the company’s website.
Hongzheng Technology’s election products:
Patents Connect Konnech To Hongzheng Tech.
Shao Guojun (邵国君), Yu Jun (于君), and Yu Lin (于林) are three of seven initial investors in Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co.
Interestingly, two of the seven equity holders have the last name Yu.
Yu Lin initially owned 99.4%, Shao Guojun owned 0.1%, and Yu Jun owned 0.1%.
Incredibly, on April 18, 2012, Shao Guojun and Yu Jun co-applied for a U.S. patent with none other than Konnech Inc. and Eugene Yu.
Meaning Shao Guojun not only turns up on a 2012 patent with Eugene Yu and Konnech Inc. in the United States, but his name also appears on a Chinese voting technology patent transferred from Jinhua Konnech Inc. to Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co. in 2015.
As mentioned, Hongzheng Tech. actively builds hardware and software for China's National People's Congress and is partnered with Lenovo, Huawei, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile.
After Shao Guojun (邵国君) worked as a "technical manager" at Konnech Inc., where he designed their system architecture, he went on to become a "Senior Architect" at Huawei, where he worked on the Chinese telecom giant's cloud platform architecture.
Konnech's software, including its election worker management system, is used to administer elections in Australia, Canada, and the United Sates.
Eugene Yu and Yu Jianwei (于建伟)
A deeper dive into the internet archives on Eugene Yu further reveals that he was once a financial advisor at Prudential Securities Inc. after graduating from Wake Forest University.
To better understand Eugene Yu, an archived 2005 magazine produced by the China Association for Science and Technology in the United States and the American Zhu Kezhen Educational Foundation reveals that Yu was an officer of the American Zhu Kezhen Education Foundation in 2000 and 2001, a foundation which stated mission is to bridge Zhejiang University with American universities.
The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), which was formed in 1958, stated goal is to act as a link between the science and technology community and the Chinese government.
In 2003, CAST established the Help Our Motherland through Elite Intellectual Resources from Overseas Program (HOME) in concert with the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party with the goal of recruiting overseas science and technology talent for technology transfer purposes.
Notice that the 2005 magazine list Eugene Yu followed by his Chinese name, Yu Jianwei (于建伟).
The magazine with, “Overseas Scholars” written across the cover provides this paragraph on Yu Jianwei [translated via Google]:
“During this period, I was honored to have Wang Feiyue, Zhu Cheng, Yu Luping (Chemistry 82) and Yang Fang to join the senior Yu Jianwei (Thermophysics 81). Huge help. Under the auspices of Yu Xin (Biochemical 82) and President of Zhejiang University Pan Yunhe, Jianwei holds an MBA degree.
He was the financial advisor of Prudential Company, which seriously held the annual department of Zhu Kezhen's famous scholar with the support of the famous American. He gave us a lecture, Every year, I invite several academic masters to talk about the same leading into many professional financial systems and investment approaches.
He later studied the frontier progress in the field, which made a huge frontier progress in the academic improvement of Zhejiang University, which made a huge contribution to the academic improvement of Zhejiang University, construction and installation of communications equipment.”
Lastly, a Chinese document entitled “International Elite Entrepreneurship” says the mission of Yu Jianwei’s Konnech Inc. was to become “one of the top 50 e-commerce service providers for schools and government in the United States within 10 years.”
“The company will enter a phase of rapid development after the implementation of the venture fund in Wuzhong.”
“In terms of specialized technology, we have been developing and hiring technical personnel with expertise in the field in a rapid manner by utilizing the role of corporate and university professors and graduate classes for project development, with the aim of receiving advanced applied technology.”
“We must take the corresponding path and cooperate with American universities and Zhejiang University and other domestic institutions to focus on the development of applied technologies and the application-oriented development of specialized technologies.”
Finally, the document describes the problems facing the U.S. market citing “expensive software programming fees and talent shortages” as well as reduced “funding for IT projects” before closing with, “In this environment, the role of our China branch is fully demonstrated.”
To better understand the timeline of how all of these events coincide, I must now introduce you to the Substack article that I stumbled across on Thursday evening that led me to Shao Guojun (邵国君), Yu Jun (于君), and Yu Jianwei (于建伟).
This following segment will be a timeline featured directly from the author’s analysis that further documents all of the connections between Konnech Inc., Jinhua Konnech Inc., Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., and Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co.
(all domains noted below were registered to Konnech)
2002-03-20 Konnech Inc. Incorporated in Michigan ID Number: 800599006. Eugene Yu holds all officer titles: President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Director of Konnech, Inc. (2021 is the most recent Annual Report with officers listed)3
2002-03-30 konnech.com domain created
2005-11-29 Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. established in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China with $130,000 USD funds. Principal of the company is Yu Jianwei (于建伟), a foreign natural person (ie, a US resident).4
2006-01-16 bestbrief.com domain created
2006-01-16 schoolbrief.com domain created
2009-01-08 pollchief.com domain created (Election management software, Election services, Poll worker training)
2009-03-25 Konnech filed for PollChief trademark. Serial Number 77698702, Registration Number 39513965
2010-11-12 abvote.com domain created
2011-04-26 Trademark registered for PollChief
2011-09-07 Konnech filed for ABVote trademark. Serial Number 85416420, Registration Number 43845776
Eugene Yu (Okemos, MI)
Jun Yu (Zhejiang)
Guojun Shao (Jinhua) (See 2015-04-13 and 2015-10-07)
2012-09-05 ipetitioner.com domain created (Signature Verification Software)
2012-09-26 plocation.com domain created
2012-10-12 Konnech filed for iPetitioner trademark. Serial Number 85752482, Registration Number 43910139
2013-08-13 Trademark registered for ABVote
2013-08-27 Trademark registered for iPetitioner
2014-2015 Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. engaged in "Research and Development of Network Election Backend Server Subsystem".12 [Translated via Google]
2014-06-06 votedge.com domain created (a Konnech shake to vote app)
2015-04-13 Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co., Ltd. established13
He Qiong 何琼 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Jiang Zhaoling 江照灵 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Shao Guojun 邵国君 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Tang Ruixin 汤瑞新 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Yu Jun 于君 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Zhao Xiangkun 赵祥坤 Contribution: 0.5; Percentage: 0.1%
Yu Lin 于林 Contribution: 497; Percentage: 99.4%
2015-07-31 hongzhengtech.cn domain created14
2015-10-07 Transfer of patent application right for a Chinese Patent (CN-104618378-A & CN-104618378-B). System and data processing method for network voting of absent electorates. Rights transferred from JINHUA KONNECH, INC., TO JINHUA HONGZHENG TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.15
Chen Wei 陈伟
Shao Guojun 邵国君
Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co.
For starters, you will notice that Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. (金华宇联网络科技有限公司) was established in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China on November 29, 2005 by Yu Jianwei (于建伟), a “foreign natural person” to China.
Furthermore, utilizing Chinese search engines, you will find business registrations claiming that Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co. is the “China R&D subsidiary of Konnech Inc.”
Moreover, a Wucheng District project funding checklist says, Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co. was working on the “Research and Development of Network Election Backend Server Subsystem” in 2014 and 2015.
Konnech Recruits Chinese Coders
In fact, Baidu reveals that Michigan-based Konnech Inc. has been recruiting Chinese software engineers since at least December 7, 2005, one week after Yu Jianwei (于建伟) established Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co. in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China.
The post labeled under “Recruitment of foreign-funded enterprises” and “job hunting” finishes by saying, “Konnech's newly established branch in Jinhua, Zhejiang is now in need of a number of talents.”
The job listing signs off with:
December 7, 2005
Even as recently as June 28, 2022, a user named “Konnech_Shawn” posted on a software development recruitment site which brings Chinese engineers to the United States that Michigan’s Konnech Inc. was looking for engineers, business analyst, and product designers.
The post says to contact, “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Perhaps, that is why George Giddings, who worked for Konnech Inc. in 2007, states on his Linkedin page that his experience working for the company was, “Driving to detriot to help out the clients. Increase sales and traffic. Talk to the engineers in china during the night”.
Domains Connect Konnech, Yulian, and Hongzheng
Furthermore, the domain registrant for konnech.cn is none other than Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co. and the domain is linked to the email address email@example.com
Unbelievably, as recently as last Tuesday, the website for Hongzheng Technology Co., the election company which builds the voting software and tablets for China’s National People’s Congress, was still registered to the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Only yesterday, the registrar’s email address was changed to “email@example.com”.
Lastly, a December 17, 2020, article describes the technological prowess of Jinhua Hongzheng Technology Co., Ltd. and reveals that, “the staff of the District Science and Technology Bureau” regularly gives guidance to the Chinese election software company “reminding us to be aware of the importance of intellectual property rights and patents while exploring innovation.”
“In order to maintain the industry’s leading position, the company continues to develop and innovate, and has hired Mr. Yu Jianwei, well-known in the international election field, as the company’s technical and business consultant.
At the same time, the company has hired a domestic cryptography doctoral team to continue to invest in election voting and government information security encryption.”
Perhaps the United States, Canada, and Australia should also consider hiring Mr. Yu Jianwei (于建伟) to run their elections, if he isn’t already administering them.
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Further Konnech Reading:
Disclaimer: Although, I have extensively researched Konnech Inc., the information that I have may be incomplete. I reserve the right to update, append or correct any statements or information contained herein as more information becomes available. If you have any further information, please let me know in the comment section of this article.