Chinese authorities have initiated an investigation into Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer and a major supplier of Apple Inc.
The state-run Global Times reported Sunday that officials are conducting tax inspections at Foxconn facilities in the Chinese provinces of Henan and Hubei. Additionally, China’s Ministry of Natural Resources is investigating Foxconn’s land use in those provinces.
In response, Foxconn stated it would fully cooperate with Chinese authorities on the matter. “Legal compliance everywhere we operate around the world is a fundamental principle of Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn),” the company said.
The timing of the investigation has raised some speculation that it may be politically motivated. Foxconn founder Terry Gou is currently running as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election in January.
Gou has positioned himself as open to friendlier ties with Beijing compared to the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which China views as promoting Taiwan’s independence. However, Gou has asserted he would not bow to Chinese pressure over his business interests if elected.
Chinese state media suggested the probe could impact the Taiwanese election
Experts cited in Chinese state media suggested the probe could impact the Taiwanese election and that business leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should work to prevent a victory by pro-independence candidates. Of course, such suggestions are to be expected from media representing a country that wants to bring Taiwan under its complete leadership.
Tensions have escalated between Beijing and Taipei over the past year as China ramps up military and diplomatic pressure. China claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and insists nations cannot have official ties with both China and Taiwan.
Some analysts speculate the Foxconn investigation may also be China’s retaliation against the United States in their ongoing trade and technology dispute. By putting pressure on Foxconn, China could hamper production and sales for Apple, one of America’s largest and most iconic companies.
The scale and outcome of the probe into the Taiwanese firm is still unclear. As one of China’s largest private employers, Foxconn has substantial interests in maintaining stable relations with authorities in Beijing.
Going forward, the investigation will be closely watched by technology firms with supply chain links to China. The move could have dire consequences for China’s economy in the long run.
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