China’s Foxconn Probe Raises Concerns in Taiwan

Foxconn is one of the world’s largest contract producers of electronics as well as being a key supplier for Apple’s iPhones….reports Asian Lite News

Taiwan’s national security chief has claimed that a Chinese tax probe into Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn is a “political” move. The billionaire founder of the company, Terry Gou is running for president in democratically ruled, Taiwan, Al Jazeera reported.

Gou relieved himself of management duties at Foxconn four years’ prior, launching his presidential bid in August as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s January polls.

Foxconn is one of the world’s largest contract producers of electronics as well as being a key supplier for Apple’s iPhones.

The Chinese state-run Global Times reported last month that Foxconn was under a “normal and legitimate” investigation for tax and land issues by mainland authorities, reports Al Jazeera.

Taiwan has governed independently from mainland China since 1949, yet China has continually attempted to reclaim control of the island on the southeastern coast of China, particularly in recent years.

Foxconn has said they will cooperate on “operations concerned” in order to maintain confidence in the company during its investigation.

Taiwan’s National Security Council head said on Monday in Taipei’ that there was a political element to the probe into the company. Al Jazeera reports that Gou’s entry into the electoral race could split the opposition vote.

When Gou first entered the presidential race, he was accused of holding a relationship between Foxconn and Beijing, due to the numerous mainland factories that Foxconn has. Gou was quick to disregard these statements, he said he had “never been under the control of the [Chinese Communist Party]”.

The current president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen and her party, the Democratic Progressive Party hold a particularly Taiwanese nationalist position, advocating a strengthening of the Taiwanese identity.

Analysts say Gou has a slim chance of winning, with DPP candidate Vice President Lai Ching-te currently in the lead, Al Jazeera reports.

“They [China] certainly don’t want Terry Gou to run,” Wellington Koo, whose department falls under President Tsai Ing-wen said, reports Al Jazeera. “Based on our observations, China does not want Terry Gou to split votes [within the pro-Beijing camp],” he said.

Koo also mentioned that Foxconn has been looking to diversify its supply chain lines away from China, which suggests another reason that Chinese authorities may be looking to investigate the company.

“If all assembly lines are moved out under the request of major US brands, the harm to China will be significant,” Koo said.

With more than a million workers nationwide, Foxconn is China’s largest private-sector employer. Top Taiwanese official, Deputy Premier Cheng Wen-tsan, said Taiwanese businesses in China should not be subject to “political interference”.

China is continuing to struggle with a persistent bout of industrial unrest with the United States.

Foxconn is turning its attention to India, in May, it bought a huge tract of land on the outskirts of Indian tech hub Bengaluru and has since announced plans to expand its India operations, reports Al Jazeera.

The Taiwanese company have reportedly invested up to 600 million dollars into Indian production. (ANI)

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