Sources told NCE that the team had left Atkins, having been lured with the promise of better pay and conditions at GHD, a multidisciplinary consultant operating in 12 countries.
The defection comes just weeks before the consultant was due to exhibit at the ITS World Congress in Beijing.
Atkins opened the Beijing office six years ago, and the Atkins Consultants (Shenzen) Beijing office has grown to more than 100 staff.
The company’s transport clients in the region include Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation and Mass Transit Railway, Citybus, Kowloon Motor Bus Company, New World First Bus and Taiwan High Speed Rail.
Atkins had established the ITS team in Beijing following the Chinese government rapidly expanded the city’s ITS network to better manage its overloaded road network and provide better passenger information on public transport in time for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
An Atkins spokesman played down the loss and said: “We have more than 800 people working in China in eight offices.”