The Chinese government has launched an espionage investigation after a deputy director of the administration revealed that Coca Cola employees used handheld GPS devices to collect geographical information from the Yunnan province and other regions.
The investigation is overseen by the Ministry of State Security and the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, South China Morning Post reports.
Coca Cola representatives have issued a statement saying they’re cooperating with the investigation. However, they argued that their employees were simply trying to improve fuel efficiency and customer service.
The devices they used were “digital map and customer logistic systems commercially available in China.”
On the other hand, Chinese authorities say Coca Cola used highly sophisticated mapping technology which they’ve been having difficulties in analyzing.
GPS mapping experts highlight the fact that China must be very careful with the investigation. Professor Guo Jiming of the Wuhan University noted that the administration should raise concerns only if military-grade or ultra-high sensitivity devices were used.
China is apparently concerned that the information collected by Coca Cola could be used to launch missiles against military facilities.