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Taiwan firm Want Want has no Chinese backing, says chairman

Publication Date : 08-05-2012

 

Want Want Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng attended a public hearing on the group's acquisition bid of China Network Systems Co. (CNS) in the Legislative Yuan, yesterday, during which he voiced his love for Taiwan and refuted public concern that the Want Want Group's bid is backed by the Chinese government.

Disapproval toward any Chinese financial influence over Want Want's proposed acquisition, Tsai said, “I have visited mainland China [multiple times] over the past 20 years and have been in touch with several million Taiwanese businessmen there. No one has ever seen me participate in any mainland Chinese meetings, and it was in a public setting that I crossed paths with Chen Yunlin [chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait], who does not know me.”

The definition of receiving Chinese funding is when the mainland Chinese government directly invests or grants businesses special trade licenses, Tsai said, emphasising he had received neither. Tsai said he does not even know any Taiwanese governmental officials or members of the national assembly, reiterating that he does not do sketchy business deals or speculate on the stock market or real estate industry.

Tsai's appearance at the public hearing was unexpected for many. He had not intended to show up at all initially, Tsai said, joking that he had decided to come because he knew Next TV—Want Want Group's rival, with whom the group has recently been battling over the CNS acquisition bid through their printed media — would be present at the public hearing.

Speaking both Mandarin and Taiwanese, Tsai explicitly stated that in terms of the Want Want-CNS bid, he is just an investor and “a law-abiding man who does not do ridiculous things”. However he might have misbehaved against Taiwan, he would try to make up for it, Tsai said.

The Want Want chairman became disgruntled when his requests for an extension of the designated speaking time and a question and answer session were turned down by the National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairperson Su Herng due to meeting procedures.

Academia disagreements

While many members of academia and the Legislature present at the public hearing voiced opposition against the Want Want-CNS acquisition bid, quite a few expressed their support. Those who supported the bid believed there was nothing illegal about the acquisition, and the government should process the case like any other.

Those who disapproved of the acquisition bid maintained that it would enable the Want Want Group to potentially manipulate Taiwan's media industry and dominate the nation's freedom of speech.

 

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