Tsinghua Unigroup plans $7b cross-Straits fund


ANN@The China Post

Beijing-based chip giant Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd said on Tuesday it is planning to launch a 50 billion yuan ($7 billion) fund to promote cross-Straits economic ties, after its investment proposal to invest in firms in Taiwan province ran into trouble.

“Taiwan should not be afraid of the capital from the mainland. Instead, the mainland’s capital, talented people and huge market can offer a big opportunity for Taiwan-based firms to grow,” Zhao Weiguo, chairman of the State-owned firm, said at an economy forum in Beijing on Tuesday.

He did not offer details such as when the fund will be set up and how the capital will be used.

The speech came after the firm’s proposals to buy stakes worth nearly $1 billion in two chip firms in Taiwan province ran into trouble.

A source close to Zhao told China Daily that “the firm’s acquisition plan in Taiwan is not going well because the Taiwan local government is delaying the approval process.”

ChipMOS Technologies Inc, a Taiwan-based chip test and packaging firm, said in late November that it would end the partnership with Tsinghua Unigroup, which said last year it would spend $365 million to buy 25 percent of the Taiwan firm’s shares.

“Some Taiwan officials are seeing mainland capital as a threatening monster. If they don’t welcome our investment, we can attract Taiwan firms to the mainland for cooperation,” Zhao said at the forum.

Tsinghua Unigroup also said last year it was investing around $600 million in Powertech Technology Inc for a 25 percent stake. Currently, the deal is still waiting approval from the Taiwan local government.

Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwan leader inaugurated in May, had earlier claimed the investments by Tsinghua Unigroup were a “huge threat” to Taiwan.

Roger Sheng, a senior analyst at research firm Gartner Inc, said Taiwan enterprises are in fact very eager to cooperate with mainland firms because they are short of money and want to tap into the mainland’s huge market.

“Many Taiwan chip experts have already come to the mainland,” he added.