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Ma-Xi meet unrelated to Tsinghua Unigroup's ambitions: president

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) President Ma Ying-Jeou (???) said Thursday that his upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) has nothing to do with the Chinese government-backed high-tech conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup's (????) ambitions to buy into Taiwan's integrated circuit industry. Asked by reporters whether Ma is worried about Tsinghua Unigroup's recent aggressive moves targeting Taiwan's semiconductor sector for possible mergers and acquisitions, Ma said that the Chinese firm's ambitions are a separate issue to his meeting with Xi. Ma made the comments at an international news conference held to brief the public about the meeting. Ma and Xi are scheduled to meet in Singapore Nov. 7, the first meeting between the leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait since 1949. The president said that when Taipei and Beijing were in talks to arrange the meeting, neither party was aware of information about Tsinghua Unigroup's ambitions. He said he did not believe that China will use the upcoming meeting as part of a strategy to help the Chinese firm to push for mergers and acquisitions in Taiwan. Concern has been escalating that China will use not only its political clout but also its economic strength to press Taiwan, and the recent aggressive moves by Tsinghua Unigroup have been described as part of China's intentions in this regard. In late October, Tsinghua Unigroup announced that it had reached an agreement with Taiwan-based IC packaging and testing services firm Powertech Technology Inc. (??) to take a 25 percent stake in the Taiwanese firm. The deal still needs regulatory approval in Taiwan before it can proceed. Tsinghua Unigroup, in which Beijing-based Tsinghua University holds a 51 percent stake, has expressed enthusiasm for acquiring more interest in Taiwan's semiconductor firms after the deal with Powertech. If the deal with Powertech and Tsinghua Unigroup is able to be completed, it will set a precedent for a Chinese firm to own a stake in a Taiwanese IC packaging and testing firm. After the deal, Tsinghua Unigroup will become the largest shareholder of Powertech and is expected to take a seat on the Taiwanese firm's board of directors. Currently, Taiwan allows Chinese firms to take an up to 25 percent stake in a Taiwanese IC packaging and testing services provider, but it remains forbidden for Chinese investors to buy into local IC design companies. On Thursday, the local media reported that Tsinghua Unigroup Chairman Zhao Weiguo (???) visited Taiwan-based Phison Electronics Corp. (??) Chairman Pan Chien-cheng (???) recently to explore the possibility of business cooperation between the two companies. Phison is one of Taiwan's leading flash memory card control chip designers. While Phison declined to comment on the reports, the Taiwanese firm said that it will seize any opportunity to talk with the Chinese integrated circuit firm if such an opportunity arises. The local media had also previously reported that Tsinghua Unigroup has a plan to push for a merger with Taiwan's smartphone chip designer MediaTek Inc. (???). Phison said that the company will take into account its long-term development when it enters any talks for possible cooperation with a Chinese counterpart, while the Taiwanese firm has urged the government to relax its grip on Chinese investment in the local IC industry. Stan Shih (???), founder and honorary chairman of Taiwan PC brand Acer Inc. (??), has also urged Taiwan to allow Chinese investment in the local IC design sector as long as local intellectual property rights can be protected. (By Jeff Chang, Jalen Chung and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-17 02:59 GMT+08:00