The government yesterday designated Phoenix Television a Chinese-funded company, a move that should force the network to close its office in Taiwan.
The government has imposed tighter restrictions on Chinese companies seeking to invest in Taiwan as political and military tensions between Taipei and Beijing increase.
Beijing has ramped up pressure since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came to power in 2016, as she rejects its “one China” principle.
.Photo: screen grab from Phoenix Television
The Mainland Affairs Council said that “stock transfers and personnel changes” had turned Phoenix TV into a de facto Chinese state-controlled entity.
Authorities have demanded that the company either stop operating in Taiwan, pull its investment or “rectify” the situation, the council said in a statement.
Phoenix TV’s offices in Taipei and Hong Kong did not respond to requests for comment.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Phoenix TV is partially state-owned, and offers Mandarin and Cantonese-language programming, including news reports that hews to Beijing’s government.
Its audience is mostly Chinese speakers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as the overseas ethnic Chinese diaspora.
Filings with the Hong Kong stock exchange show that its largest shareholder is Bauhinia Culture Holdings Ltd (紫荊文化集團), a Chinese government-owned company.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) yesterday reported that Phoenix TV was planning to close its office in Taipei next month and lay off all 25 Taiwanese employees after a six-month negotiation with regulators made no headway.
Under Taiwanese regulations, a company is considered a Chinese investment if a Chinese entity owns more than 30 percent of its shares or has “effective control” over its operations.
Online marketplace Taobao Taiwan, registered as a foreign firm through its operator — a UK venture investment company — was forced to close in 2020 after the government ruled that it was controlled by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴).
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