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Chunghwa Telecom union vows to protest new chairman

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union yesterday vowed to stage a protest on Wednesday over the government's choice of the new chairman's appointment for the state-run company.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部) and the Legislative Yuan had backed Rick Tsai (蔡力行), a former executive at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC, 台積電), to take up the chairmanship of the state-run company with the approval of the Cabinet.

According to the union, Tsai is not an ideal candidate for chairman, as he is not an expert of the telecoms industry, and did not rise up through the ranks of the company.

Tsai is set to take the reins of the company on Jan. 29, replacing current Chairman Lee Yen-sung (李炎松).

The union expects to mobilize up to 400 people in taking to the streets for a protest, and present their petition against Tsai's appointment to the MOTC and the Legislative Yuan. In addition, the union also expressed their concern over Tsai's purported intent to release the development of the crucial “last mile” network segment to other competitors of the field.

In the sector, the last mile refers to the final leg of the networks that delivers communication connectivity to retail consumers. Though much maligned by leaders of new telecommunication sector entrants including Terry Gou (郭台銘) of Hon Hai, Far EasTone's (遠傳) Douglas Tong Hsu (徐旭東) and Taiwan Mobile's (台灣大) Richard Tsai (蔡力行), the union wishes to preserve its hegemonic hold on Taiwan's network infrastructure, and deter competitors from participating in the development of the last mile amid the impending arrival of the fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband network toward the end of this year.

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