April 27th, 2012


Taiwan media fight highlights China ties concern

In this image made on Friday, April 27, 2012, pages of rival Taiwan newspapers Apple Daily, top half, and The China Times, bottom, are seen depicting each other's owners in a fight for ownership of a major chunk of Taiwan's media outlets.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A Taiwanese tycoon with big business interests in China is causing alarm as he tries to expand his media empire on the democratic island.

Want Want Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng is trying to purchase a cable TV network system in a $2.4 billion deal that would significantly bolster his influence in Taiwan. But regulators have held up approval for almost 18 months amid concerns that Want Want's China Times subsidiary is becoming too powerful.

Tsai purchased the China Times stable of media outlets for $650 million in 2008. It includes the flagship China Times daily newspaper, China TV, and the CTI cable news station.

Adding to the deal's controversy, a rival media mogul is attacking Tsai over his close ties to China. Jimmy Lai, publisher of the Apple Daily newspaper, says Want Want's China business interests — the company's fortune originated with food sales on the mainland — and his pronounced pro-Beijing views should scuttle his application to acquire Taiwan's China Network Systems. The broadcaster provides cable service to 1.18 million TV households, or a quarter of the island's total.

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