Thu, Mar 28, 2002 - Page 17 News List

China's political pressure doesn't worry Acer's Shih

STAFF WRITER

In one sentence, Acer Inc (宏電) Chairman Stan Shih (施振榮) debunked one of the hottest China myths reverberating through Taiwan today, that China will be able to manipulate Taiwan through the thousands of companies rushing to set up operations there.

"I can survive without China," said Shih, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. "If they [the Chinese Government] try to take my small Chinese investment, I'm fine."

Shih is considered one of the founding fathers of Taiwan's high tech industry, opening Acer in 1976 and putting it on course to become perhaps the first globally recognizable corporate name from the nation.

In the Chronicle article, Shih said misunderstandings between Taiwan and China have heightened tensions across the Strait.

In one instance, the Chinese government fired a warning shot across Shih's bow, saying that his position as adviser to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) could negatively affect Acer's operations in China. "China had a misunderstanding about the new government supporting independence. As a corporate citizen, you have to support the government. I was also an adviser to [former] president Lee [Teng-hui] (李登輝). I am neutral. I support all parties," Shih said in the report.

He also said he hoped growing business ties between Taiwan and China bring mutual benefits to both countries, "and we don't see any reason for stopping that progress, unless they have a political reason."

Shih expects a foundation to be built for a future mutually acceptable resolution. "The current proposal from China is not acceptable. From Taiwan's point of view, `one future China' is OK. But if `one China' is the PRC, that's not acceptable right now," he said.

Acer was one of the first tech firms from Taiwan to venture into China.

Shih said Taiwanese firms are looking to China as a partner in the same manner as they view the US and Japan in a globally competitive market place.

"When you do business, you have to depend on other countries. This is the global economy," he said.

To clarify his point, Shih said Acer invests more money in the US than in China. Each year, investment to the US in software, communications, optical electronics and semiconductors reaches between US$30 million and US$40 million. He gave no figures for China investment.

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