By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter

Publishedduration3 days agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightWeb Summitimage captionPalmer Luckey talked about the relationship between tech firms and the military, in a Web Summit chat

Virtual reality firm Oculus VR's co-founder has accused other tech chiefs of refusing to work with the US military for fear of alienating China.

In a virtual chat at Web Summit, Palmer Luckey said US technology companies had "always worked" with the military in the past, claiming a recent change of heart had been caused by their deepening relationships with China.

Mr Luckey left Facebook in 2017, three years after it acquired Oculus.

He now runs a surveillance start-up.

His firm Anduril signed a contract earlier this year to create a virtual border wall between the US and Mexico, using drones and sensor-laden towers.

During a talk at Web Summit, which is online this year, he challenged the notion that tech firms were refusing military contracts because of staff's ethical objections.

"A lot of companies have financial and PR incentives to stay out of military work, so they're happy to use these employees as a scapegoat to say 'we're listening to our employees', which contributes to this idea that workers of Silicon Valley and other tech hubs are universally opposed to this idea," he said.

"It is in the interest of a lot of these tech companies to kind of pretend to be these extra-national international corporations that are bound to no nation.

"You can disagree on how dominant of a factor it is, It's a factor, though, and it's the one that doesn't get discussed."