Hong Kong-based television network Phoenix Television is reportedly ceasing operations in Taiwan after Taiwanese authorities designated the company as a China-owned enterprise.
In Taiwan, Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua said the department fined Phoenix Television in September 2021 after it transferred ownership for failing to meet the 30% cap requirement on television. Chinese investments in any Taiwanese company. Taiwanese authorities also demanded that Phoenix Television remedy after the transfer of ownership. According to Taiwan’s SET information, although Phoenix Television was required by Taiwanese authorities to complete the remediation by May 14, 2022, the media company responded that it would lay off its staff before the deadline.
Taiwan’s Liberty Times reported that Phoenix Television planned to shut down its operations in Taipei in May. The 25 Taiwanese employees will be fired after the company failed to reach a consensus with the authorities.
In June 2021, Phoenix Television was sold by founder Liu Changle to Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings and Shun Tak Holdings subsidiary Common Sense. Bauhinia Culture Holdings is a public company whose activities include media, art and culture. Currently, Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings is taking control of a c.21% stake in Phoenix Television, while China Mobile (Hong Kong) also has a c.20% stake in the media company. Taiwanese authorities require companies to adhere to the required 30% cap on Chinese investment in any Taiwanese company.
According to Article 73 of the “Law Governing the Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area” of Taiwan, unless authorized by the competent authorities, any Chinese individual, legal person, organization or other institution, or any company in which it invests any third area, may not engage in any investment activity in Taiwan.
Phoenix Television has several channels, including Phoenix Chinese Channel, Phoenix InfoNews Channel, Phoenix Chinese News and Entertainment Channel which broadcasts in Europe, Phoenix North American Chinese Channel, Phoenix Movie Channel and Phoenix Hong Kong Channel. Additionally, information from Phoenix Television’s website reveals that the company has a number of overseas press offices, including in Taipei, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Iran and in Australia.
Although based in Hong Kong, Phoenix Television said it targets Chinese communities around the world.
Phoenix Television could be the second media company to have to cease operations in Taiwan in less than two years. In late 2020, Taiwan refused to renew CTi’s license as it was widely seen as pro-Beijing. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission once said there was clear and specific evidence of CTi’s violations, including a wave of complaints from viewers since 2017, internal checks on reporting, and accusations of interference in the newsroom by major shareholder Tsai Eng-meng. In a statement, the National Communications Commission said the interference violated its internal guidelines, while newsroom management did not object to any interference from major shareholders.
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