Tsinghua Unigroup’s Ambitions in Taiwan Could be Thwarted

14 Dec

Tsinghua Unigroup’s prospects for winning approval to take stakes in Taiwan’s biggest IC packaging firms are uncertain as the Taiwanese government is hesitant to allow mainland Chinese investment in the island’s semiconductor sector, experts say.

Beijing-based Tsinghua Unigroup has moved aggressively in its bid to invest in Taiwan’s IC packaging segment. On Friday, it revealed that it had reached agreements separately with Siliconware Precision Industries Co. (SPIL) and ChipMOS Technologies Ltd. to take a 25 percent stake in each of those two companies.

That announcement came just days after Unigroup reached an agreement with Powertech Technology that provided it with a stake in the Taiwanese IC chip packager.

It is uncertain how foreign institutional investors will react to Unigroup’s latest move, market insiders say. Without their support, the deals have little chance of being approved.

Another major obstacle will be ASE, which has a 24.9 percent stake in SPIL. The Unigroup deal would see SPIL issue new shares for the Chinese investor’s subscription agreement through private placement, causing ASE’s holdings in SPIL to fall to less than 20 percent.

Unigroup must also persuade the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission that it will not take over management of the Taiwanese companies.

Last month, Unigroup chairman Zhao Weiguo said he would be interested in investing in MediaTek if the law were changed to allow it.

A few days earlier, he urged Beijing to lobby Taiwan to end the ban on mainland Chinese investment in Taiwan’s IC design segment and suggested the Chinese government bar Taiwanese semiconductor imports if those efforts failed.

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