Taiwan’s Presidential Candidates Speak Out Against SPIL Share Sale Plan

16 Dec

The presidential candidates of Taiwan’s two largest political parties spoke out Tuesday against Siliconware Precision Industries’ planned sale of stock to Beijing-based Tsinghua Unigroup, Taiwanese media reported.

Speaking on the sidelines of a news conference in Taipei, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup could be subject to Chinese government influence.

“It could pose a dire threat to Taiwan’s industries,” she said, according to The Taipei Times. “This is a rather weighty and serious issue. The government should not allow hasty passage of the deals without carrying out a thorough assessment and assuaging public concerns.”

The possibility that Tsinghua Unigroup is conducting a hostile takeover of the Taiwanese firms cannot be ruled out, she added.

Tsai’s warning came four days after SPIL, the world’s No. 3 chip tester and packager, announced that it wants to sell a 24.9 percent stake to Tsinghua Unigroup for NT$56.8 billion (US$1.72 billion).

It was followed by an announcement made hours later by SPIL subsidiary ChipMOS Technologies, which said it would sell a 25 percent stake to Tsinghua Unigroup for NT$11.9 billion.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu restated his oppostion to the deals Tuesday.

“The IC design sector in particular should remain off-limits to Chinese investment at the moment,” Chu said, according to The Taipei Times. “As for the other two sectors, careful deliberation is needed when it comes to the opening up of the foundry sector, while the packaging and testing sector is directly related to the nation’s global competitiveness and market strategy, and [any investment] should be subjected to strict scrutiny.”

In late November, Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng said that the ministry was drafting new regulations to allow Chinese investment in Taiwan’s integrated circuit (IC) design industry.

That announcement has prompted a backlash from academics worried about Chinese influence in one of Taiwan’s most important industries.

Former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh signed an online petition Tuesday organized by academics opposed to Chinese investment in Taiwan’s IC design industry. Launched on December 10, the petition had 302 signatures as of 1pm Tuesday, according to The Taipei Times.