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Three Taiwan tech firms 'digging in' to Russian market

Yale says Acer, ASUS, MSI are continuing with business-as-usual in Russia

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A Russian police officer checks a QR code on a woman's smartphone in Moscow. 

A Russian police officer checks a QR code on a woman's smartphone in Moscow.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three Taiwan tech firms remain listed within the “Digging In” category of Yale University’s list of global companies doing business in Russia.

The Yale School of Management keeps an extensive list of global companies and their status in the Russian market, which is updated by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and a team from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute. The list divides companies into five categories: Withdrawal, Suspension, Scaling Back, Buying Time, Digging In.

As of Friday (April 1), there are 38 companies listed in “Digging In,” described as “Defying Demands for Exit or Reduction of Activities — companies that are just continuing business-as-usual in Russia.” Three of the firms are Taiwanese, namely Acer, ASUS, and MSI.

In early March, several Taiwan tech brands were reported to be mulling their options about the Russian market. Then, ASUS was thrust into the spotlight after Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote an open letter to CEO Jonney Shih (施崇棠) requesting he withdraw ASUS from Russia.

On March 12, Cheng Hung-huei (鄭宏輝), former Hsinchu city councilor and a member of the Democratic Progressive Party’s Central Executive Committee, called on ASUS to quit the Russian market.

At an industry event on Tuesday (March 29), Jonney Shih (施崇棠) did not respond directly to reporters' questions about his company’s market share in Russia or the impact of the war in Ukraine on its operations in Russia. Shih merely reasserted that the company’s shipments to Russia have been suspended for now.

Yet, Yale has a different account of the action taken by ASUS in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ASUS is “citing conditions for effective standstill in Russian operations without actually suspending operations,” the university claims.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) began halting sales to Russia within days of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. On the Yale list, it is categorized under “Suspension” which is described as “companies temporarily curtailing most or nearly all operations while keeping return options open.”