A coalition of western nations has accused China of industrial-scale cyber theft.

Several nations have released statements of condemnation after US authorities laid charges against two Chinese Nationals, accused of being part of a group called, APT-10. The group, believed to be acting on behalf of the Chinese Ministry, is reportedly behind a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft.

FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered a stinging assessment. “China’s goal, simply put, is to replace the US as the world’s leading superpower-and they’re breaking the law to get there. Healthy competition is good for the global economy. Criminal conduct is not. Rampant theft is not. Cheating is not,” Mr Wray said.

“The Chinese government’s not pulling any punches. They want what we have so they can get the upper hand on us. And they’re highly strategic in their approach-they’re playing the long game.”

It’s alleged the group hacked into Managed Service Providers (MSP) which offer cloud-sharing services to businesses. Those businesses, and their commercial secrets, would then have been compromised.

Australian officials said they have long been concerned about Beijing’s aggressive campaign of cyber espionage. Commercial secrets from Australian businesses may have been exposed.

“This is stealing commercial secrets that are the lifeblood of factories, the lifeblood of consultancies, the lifeblood of businesses,” Alastair MacGibbon, the head of the Australian Cyber Security, said.

“If they don’t have that competitive edge anymore and they can’t compete on a global scale with another country, clearly those businesses suffer. and that actually directly takes food from the table of Australian families.”

Officials in Australia, the US and elsewhere say the theft would’ve given the Chinese a commercial advantage.

“The goal is the same to dominate production in strategically important industries by stealing ideas from other nations,” the US Deputy Attorney-General Rodney J Rosenstein said.

“Today’s charges mark an important step in revealing the world China’s continued practice of stealing commercial data.”

Following the announcement from the US, statements were issued by other five eyes nations, which share intelligence information: New Zealand, Canada Australia and the United Kingdom.

Other European nations Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland have followed suit, condemning Chinese-orchestrated hacking.

“We want China to cease illegal cyber activities and honour its commitment to the international community, but the evidence suggests that China may not intend to live up to its promises,” Mr Rosenstein said.

In a statement IBM said “it’s aware of the reported attacks and already has taken extensive counter-measures worldwide as part of our continuous efforts to protect the company and our clients against constantly evolving threat.