The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-owned Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co (華夏投資公司) yesterday promised the Government Infor-mation Office (GIO) that it would not accept bids for its stock from Chinese, Hong Kong or other foreign investors as part of its effort to ensure the license renewals of two TV stations.
Company officials also explained that Sycamore Ventures -- part of the US-based Citibank Venture Capital -- was just acting as a financial consultant to the real bidder for its shares.
Hua Hsai officials signed an affidavit, together with representatives of the China Television Co (CTV), Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) and Taiwan Television (TTV) -- the majority of whose shares are held by Hua Hsai -- attesting to its statements.
GIO officials said they will check the validity of the affidavit and decide whether CTV and BCC are qualified to renew their licenses on Sept. 30.
"But even after the licenses are renewed, if there are new facts or evidence to prove the affidavit to be wrong, the GIO can invalidate the licenses at any time and punish the affidavit signers according to the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣電法)," said Samuel Wu (吳水木), director of the GIO's Department of Broadcasting Affairs.
By law, foreigners are barred from owning, funding or assuming key positions in the media.
To clear up whether foreign investors are involved in the bidding for Hua Hsai, the GIO yesterday interviewed Hua Hsai's general manager Tung Song-yuan (董宋元), CTV general manager Chiang Feng-chi (江奉琪), BCC chairman Chao Shou-po (趙守博), BCC general manager Li Ching-ping (李慶平), and TTV manager Cheng Yu (鄭優).
Tung told the GIO that: "So far Hua Hsai hasn't sold any of its shares and no foreign investors are involved in its management and board. Sycamore Ventures is foreign but it is not related to Chinese or Hong Kong investors."
Tung said that Hua Hsai would only sell its shares in the BCC, CTV and TTV to Republic of China (ROC) citizens in accordance with regulations. He said he was general manager of Hua Hsai and a member of its board, but he was not an employee of Sycamore.
"Sycamore Venture is only acting as a financial consultant to a ROC citizen in the purchase of CTV, BCC, and TTV shares," Tung said. "Hua Hsai will not accept foreign investors indirectly or directly purchasing the shares."
"Hua Hsai does not have any investment relations with Hong Kong's Tom.com," he said.