Taiwan's Want Want received NT$2.8 billion state grant from China in 2017

The conglomerate denied the allegations, saying the state grant has nothing to do with its Want Want China Times media business in Taiwan

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(Credit: Flickr user We Make Noise)

(Credit: Flickr user We Make Noise)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's Want Want in China (Want Want China Holdings Limited), a food manufacturer which has holdings in media, hotels, and insurance, is found to have received up to RMB 624 million from the Chinese government as subsidies during the period between Jan. 2017 and March 2018.

The conglomerate later denied that the huge sum of the grant over the years had been offered to support Beijing's disinformation campaigns in Taiwan through its owned Want Want China Times media group, citing the different shareholder structures between the HKEX-listed Want Want China Holdings and Want Want China Times media group.

The Facebook fan page "antichina87" claimed in a post on Monday (April 22) that the conglomerate has obtained a cumulative amount of at least NT$16.7 billion since 2006 from various Chinese government authorities, which has been described in the report as business incentives to its subsidiaries in the PRC.

The amount of state grants increased in 12 years, according to the chart shown in the post, and allegedly spiked in 2009, a year after the group acquired the China Times newspaper, CTV, and CTiTV, as well as in 2011 and 2015, when Taiwan presidential elections were held in their respective following years.

According to Want Want China's latest 2017/2018 annual report, the company revealed the state grant of RMB 624 million (NT$2.869 billion) for the period between Jan. 2017 and March 2018.

The page "antichina87" indicated the gargantuan sum of money (NT$16.7 billion) exceeds the amount of the F-16 package sales approved by the U.S. State Department earlier this month. It is sending a warning that the information warfare which spreads fake news or misinformation as "a new kind of warfare" waged by Beijing to brainwash Taiwanese people cannot be ignored.

(Snapshot image of Want Want China's latest 2017/2018 annual report)