Taipei’s national security chief claims that a Chinese tax investigation into Foxconn, a Taiwan tech giant, is politically motivated in an attempt to dissuade founder Terry Gou from running for president. Gou, who previously stepped down from Foxconn’s management, announced his presidential bid in August as an independent candidate. The Chinese government has reportedly launched a tax and land investigation into Foxconn, a major supplier for Apple’s iPhones, but has not confirmed the probe. There are concerns that Gou’s candidacy could split the opposition vote, prompting Chinese authorities to intervene.
Wellington Koo, head of Taiwan’s National Security Council, stated that there is a political aspect to the Foxconn probe, emphasizing that China does not want Gou to run for president and potentially split votes within the pro-Beijing camp. Some critics have questioned Gou’s relationship with Beijing due to Foxconn’s extensive presence in mainland China, but Gou has denied being under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore, Foxconn’s efforts to diversify its supply chain away from China may have contributed to the investigation from Chinese authorities. Despite Gou’s candidacy, analysts believe that the current lead in the presidential race is Vice President Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Given Gou’s presidential bid, Chinese authorities’ probe into Foxconn is viewed as a means to thwart his political ambitions. The investigation has stirred concerns about potential foreign interference in Taiwan’s democratic process and has underlined the underlying tensions between Beijing and Taipei. However, Gou faces an uphill battle in the presidential race, with the DPP candidate currently holding the lead. Foxconn’s impact and Gou’s candidacy have created a complex political landscape, raising questions about China’s involvement in Taiwan’s domestic politics.