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Taiwanese tycoon challenges Buffet's investment

Taiwanese tycoon challenges Buffet's investment

A Taiwanese business tycoon has criticized U.S. investor Warren Buffet's decision to invest in a Chinese battery and car maker allegedly involved in stealing trade secrets.
In an interview with a Taiwanese newspaper published Monday, Terry Gou, head of Taiwanese electronics giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., questioned the American investor's decision to invest in battery firm BYD Company Limited, which Hon Hai has sued for intellectual property violations.
"Didn't Buffet proclaim that he would only invest in companies that are trustworthy?" Gou was quoted as telling the Chinese-language Economic Daily News. "Then why did he invest in BYD which stole commercial secrets from (Hon Hai affiliate) Foxconn."
In June 2006, Hon Hai took BYD to court in Shenzhen, China, for stealing commercial secrets from Foxconn. The Taiwanese firm has complained that the mainland court is dragging its feet in the BYD case.
A Hon Hai official confirmed the contents of the Gou interview. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to deal with the press.
BYD spokeswoman Jasmine Huang rejected Gou's claims.
"This is the malicious attack of a rival," she said. "For the time being we will ignore it."
Last September, BYD gained the support of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the utility division of Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska-based flagship Berkshire Hathaway, which took a 9.9 percent stake in the Hong Kong-traded company. The stake was valued at $230 million.
Taiwanese media say the purpose of BYD's alleged theft is to give the Chinese company a leg up against Hon Hai in winning big parts orders from international mobile phone powerhouse Nokia.
Hon Hai is the world's leading contract electronics manufacturer. It provides components for popular consumer electronics brands, including Apple Inc.'s iPhone.
In the interview, Gou said BYD hired more than 400 Foxconn employees and "stole more than 10,000 documents" from the Taiwanese company.
"They sent spies to steal documents from us and later destroyed the evidence," he was quoted as saying.
BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, has now expanded to the field of electric cars, and the manufacture of cell phones and related components. Its cell phone business took off after Nokia and Motorola reportedly switched their orders to it from Foxconn.


Updated : 2021-06-16 22:37 GMT+08:00