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Hon Hai won't insist on Huawei: chairman

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. is not insisting on using equipment made by Huawei Technologies (華為) for the construction of its 4G base stations, but the government should be quick in determining whether to allow the use of Huawei's products, Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said yesterday.

Hon Hai is one of the local firms pursuing the fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband network in Taiwan, and hopes to acquire telecommunications equipment made by China-based Huawei.

The issue turned controversial recently as some suspect that equipment supplied by Huawei will compromise national security. Hon Hai's 4G construction proposal was submitted to the National Communication Commission (NCC) about two months ago, but has not yet received any affirmative responses, the company said.

Terry Gou expressed his discontent recently by threatening to avoid tax payments or to even “move headquarters out of Taiwan.” While attending a recent Legislative session, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said in response that the government would never change its policy or course of action based on the opinion of any individual or groups.

In an impromptu press conference held yesterday, Terry Gou said Jiang is a very busy person who may not have verified all the details related to 4G construction and is therefore unable to make a sound judgment on the issue.

Gou stressed that he is not insisting on using equipment produced by Huawei, but he hopes that the Premier and the NCC will provide a definite response on whether Hon Hai is allowed to acquire Huawei's products. Only

then can Hon Hai decide on its next move, Gou said.

Whatever the decision reached by the NCC the commission should be clear on why the conclusion has been reached, Gou said, echoing Jiang's remarks that all decisions should be based on the law.

With regard to tax evasion Gou stressed that he never said he would not pay taxes if the NCC disallows the adoption of Huawei equipment, he only wants a clear reply.

The NCC requested that Hon Hai sign a contract last year promising not to procure China-made core network equipment to operate mobile broadband services. However, the contract also said it was okay to procure China-made base station equipment, according to Hon Hai's vice president Lu Fang-ming (呂芳銘).

The NCC did not have rules on the proportion of China-made base station equipment allowed in 4G LTE, Lu said. The commission promised to re-draw contracts with Hon Hai if there are adjustments to the rules. However, the company has yet to receive any notification on the matter, Lu said.

According to the original Hon Hai's 4G construction proposal, 70 percent of the equipment will be sourced from international brand names, while 30 percent will be sourced from Huawei. Hon Hai hopes the NCC will make a quick decision so as not to delay the company's operations.

May 11, 2014    kingarthur@
Gou’s behavior is as a reminder that powerful businessmen and -women with lucrative operations in China can be just as effective as the Chinese government in pressuring Taipei to accelerate the process of liberalization across the Taiwan Strait.

It is also a sign that people like Gou assume that their position as highly successful corporate leaders should earn them the unwavering respect of the government and the public alike, and the permission to involve themselves in matters that are, or should be, well outside their remit.

There was a time when Gou would have gotten away with his remarks on civil society and democracy. But the extraordinary awakening that the Sunflower Movement has sparked within Taiwanese society is such that Gou will be called to account for denigrating the open society that made it possible for him to build his empire — at least until he moved most of his operations to China. Already, his flash of anger has been met with severe criticism and ridicule by Netizens and academics.

Gou's attack on democracy and his depiction of the media and social groups as destabilizing forces that hamper economic development have the ring of Beijing’s propaganda to them. One can only speculate about the pressure that Gou may also have received from the CCP, which could cause tremendous difficulties for his Foxconn operations in China should it decide to act on the many reports of suicides in the workforce, harsh working conditions, and environmental violations at its factories.
May 13, 2014    1.gadfly@
The remarks on Gou's attack on democracy are gratuitous. As the famous defense of democracy puts it, I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. None of the students bother to grant this right to their opponents; only they possess the exclusive right to speak on behalf of the people, on behalf of Taiwan's democracy. Their opponents are by definition denied any democratic right.

Granted, Gou assumes too much and asks too much. But as a tax-paying citizen he has as much right as any student or citizen to demand benefits from the government. And to speak out loud on public issues. Of course, he assumes too much. As of China parts, Taiwan simply does not and will never trust China. It is not the missiles pointed at Taiwan, it is simply because Taipei and Beijing only care about the rich in Taiwan; it has not done anything to benefit the people at large.
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